October 26, 2020

Error-related cognitive control and behavioural adaptation mechanisms in the context of motor functioning and anxiety.

Previous research suggests that there is an interaction between cognitive and motor processes. This has been investigated throughout development and in different conditions related to motor impairment. The current study addressed a gap in the literature by investigating this interaction in the general population of healthy adults with different profiles of motor proficiency by focusing on error-related cognitive control and behavioural adaptation mechanisms. In addition, the impact of these processes was assessed in terms of experienced anxiety. Forty healthy adults were divided into high and low motor proficiency groups based on an assessment of their motor skills. Using electroencephalography (EEG) during a flanker task, error-related negativity (ERN) was measured as the neural indicator of cognitive control. Post-error slowing (PES) was measured to represent behavioural adaptation. Participants also completed an anxiety assessment questionnaire. Participants in the high motor proficiency group achieved better task accuracy and showed relatively enhanced cognitive control through increased ERN. Contrastingly, individuals in the lower motor proficiency group achieved poorer accuracy whilst showing some evidence of compensation through increased PES. Anxiety was found to be associated with motor functioning, but the study could not provide evidence that this was related to cognitive or behavioural control mechanisms. The interaction between cognitive and motor processes observed in this study is unique for healthy and sub-clinical populations and provides a baseline for the interpretation of similar investigations in individuals with motor disorders.

 bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience

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