Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Psychology (MA)

Degree Level



Psychological Science


Matt Judah

Committee Member

Lamm, Connie

Second Committee Member

Vargas, Ivan


cognitive control, electroencephalography, error-related negativity, event-related potentials, trait anxiety


Anxiety disorders pose a significant challenge to daily living, workplace productivity, and healthcare systems. Extant research supports empirical links between anxiety and brain-level error monitoring. The ERN – or error-related negativity – is one widely studied correlate of anxious symptomatology. Relatively stable individual differences in the ERN are inferred from electroencephalogram (EEG) recordings time-locked to the commission of mistakes. However, the assumed interchangeability of ERNs elicited under different experimental conditions has not been thoroughly evaluated. Canonical tasks for measuring the ERN may cue specific strategies for cognitive control, possibly producing divergent findings across studies. In a sample of 108 undergraduate students, we examined within and between-subject differences in the ERNs across three tasks. Experimental blocks alternated pseudo-randomly between several tasks: the AX Continuous Performance task (AX-CPT, Reactive Control), Go/NoGo (Inhibitory Control), and Navon-Flankers (Response Conflict). Partially consistent with our predictions, ERN mean areas for inhibitory control and reactive control trials were typically larger (i.e., more negative) than those for response conflict. Unexpectedly, the ERN was a non-significant predictor of Trait anxiety scores (STAI-T), after controlling for participant age and gender (all ps > 0.05). Future research should consider how ERN task parameters may obscure trait-level differences in error sensitivity.