- Event-related potentials during visual selective attention in children of alcoholics.
- Alcoholism - Clinical and Experimental Research
- Volume | Issue number
- 22 | 9
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Psychology Research Institute (PsyRes)
Event-related potentials (ERPs) were recorded from 50 7-18 yr old children of alcoholics (COAs) and 50 age- and sex-matched control children while they performed a visual selective attention task. The task was to attend selectively to stimuli with a specified color (red or blue) in an attempt to detect the occurrence of target stimuli. COAs manifested a smaller P3b amplitude to attended-target stimuli over the parietal and occipital scalp than did the controls. A more specific analysis indicated that both the attentional relevance and the target properties of the eliciting stimulus determined the observed P3b amplitude differences between COAs and controls. In contrast, no significant group differences were observed in attention-related earlier occurring ERP components, referred to as frontal selection positivity, selection negativity, and N2b. These results represent neurophysiological evidence that COAs suffer from deficits at a late (semantic) level of visual selective information processing that are unlikely a consequence of deficits at earlier (sensory) levels of selective processing. The findings support the notion that a reduced visual P3b amplitude in COAs represents a high-level processing dysfunction indicating their increased vulnerability to alcoholism.
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