Electrophysiological measures of inhibitory control in childhood obesity
University of Delaware
Obesity is a highly prevalent problem in the United States and has been associated with many negative health consequences. The present study sought to provide insight into the cognitive processes that could be involved in overeating. Event-related potentials (ERPs) of 11 overweight and 12 normal-weight children were measured during completion of a Stop-Signal Reaction Time (SSRT) task. The N2 and P3 components of control participants‘ ERPs were expected to show evidence of right-hemisphere processes involved in response-inhibition. Because specific deficiencies in these components are believed to be related to inefficient inhibitory control, it was predicted that the ERPs of overweight children would be characterized by decreased N2 component amplitudes compared to the ERPs of normal-weight controls. For trials in which inhibition was successful, it was predicted that the ERPs of overweight children would be characterized by smaller P3 amplitudes than the ERPs for normal-weight children. The results support the notion that response-inhibition involves activation of right-hemisphere processes. No significant differences were found between overweight and control children on performance data or the N2 and P3 components of ERPs elicited during the SSRT task.