M. de Rover
W.P.M. van den Wildenberg
- Genetic marker of norepinephrine synthesis predicts individual differences in post-error slowing: A pilot study
- Volume | Issue number
- 51 | 13
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Psychology Research Institute (PsyRes)
When our brain detects the commission of an error, we slow down immediately thereafter: a phenomenon called post-error slowing (PES). Some researchers have speculated that slowing after unexpected errors or negative feedback is related to the activity of the neuromodulatory locus coeruleus-norepinephrine system. In the present pilot study, we tested whether individual differences in the size of PES are related to differences in genetic predisposition related to norepinephrine synthesis. In a sample of 100 healthy adults, we studied the dependency of an individual′s size of PES on the DBH5′-ins/del polymorphism—a variation in the DBH gene associated with the production of the enzyme dopamine β-hydroxylase, which catalyzes the conversion of dopamine to norepinephrine. DBH5′-ins/del heterozygotes, who have intermediate levels of plasma DβH activity, showed increased PES in a Simon task compared to del/del homozygotes and ins/ins homozygotes, who have low and high levels of plasma DβH activity, respectively. This outcome pattern presents preliminary evidence that the size of PES varies with DβH activity and, presumably, NE release according to an inverted U-shape: intermediate levels of DβH activity and NE release are associated with larger post-error adjustments.
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