Event-Related Potential Correlates of Biased Cognitive Processing and Control in Substance Abusers: A Review
Purpose: Event-Related Potentials (ERPs) have been used in addiction studies to evaluate cognitive performance and craving in individuals with Substance Use Dependence (SUD). This paper reviews studies that used ERPs to investigate cue reactivity, inhibitory control and error processing in SUDs to integrate new findings.
Materials and Methods: Five abused substances are included in the investigation, i.e. alcohol, nicotine, cannabis, cocaine, and methamphetamine. For each substance, the main recent findings related to the ERPs are specifically discussed, according to the latency of ERPs.
Results: Individuals with SUD allocate more attention resources to the cognitive processing of substance related cues, indexed by increased amplitude of middle and late latency ERPs. Laboratory observations also show amplitude enlargement for early latency ERPs. Individuals with SUD reveal a deficiency in the inhibitory control and conscious error processing, indexed by attenuated N2 and Pe amplitude.
Conclusion: This study expands the findings of previous related reviews implying that substance abusers allocate more attention resources to drug cues indexed by enlarged P3 and LPP amplitude. Regarding P3 elicited in inhibitory control tasks, there is not still convergent results, while N2 and Pe become attenuated as reported in previous reviews. The cognitive and motor inhibitory component (P3) changes show a controversial result.
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