Passive event-related potentials by a single tone in personality disorders

Yuedi Shen1, Meifang Zhu2, Diachun Wang3, Chundong Hao3, Jinyao Ma4, Yongfu Cao4, Ming Cao5, W. John Livesley6, Kerry L. Jang7, Wei Chen2, Mowei Shen2, Baihua Xu2, Wei Wang2
1Zhejiang University and Hangzhou Normal University, People’s Republic of China
2Zhejiang University, People’s Republic of China
3University of Heilongjiang, People’s Republic of China
4Shandong University, People’s Republic of China
5Capital Normal University, People’s Republic of China
6University of British Columbia, Canada
7University of British Columbia, People’s Republic of China
Cite this article:  Shen, Y., Zhu, M., Wang, D., Hao, C., Ma, J., Cao, Y., Cao, M., Livesley, W. J., Jang, K. L., Chen, W., Shen, M., Xu, B., & Wang, W. (2008). Passive event-related potentials by a single tone in personality disorders. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 36(7), 985-998.

Volume 36 Issue 7 | e1773 | Published: August 2008 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2224/sbp.2008.36.7.985

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A cerebral P3 potential (passive P3) in response to a single tone shares similar morphology to the classical P3 elicited in the active “oddball” paradigm, but reflects passive attention. As patients with schizotypal, antisocial, and borderline personality disorders show reduced amplitude and prolonged latency of classical P3, it is reasonable to expect that these patients might show an abnormal passive P3. We tested whether the single tone elicited event-related potentials (ERPs) in 205 patients with personality disorders and in 30 healthy volunteers. Their Axis I symptoms of depression and anxiety were measured by Zung’s Self-rating Depression Scale and Self-rating Anxiety Scale (1965, 1971). Both schizoid and paranoid groups showed significantly reduced P3 amplitude. In addition, the schizoid group showed significantly shortened N1 latency and enhanced N2 amplitude. Most patient groups except schizoids scored higher on the Depression or Anxiety scales, or both, but the ERP findings were not correlated with the Axis I symptoms in any given group alone. The abnormal negative components implied a higher vigilance or cortical arousal level in the schizoid patients, while the reduced P3 amplitude indicated a poorer passive attention in both schizoid and paranoid patients.

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