Endogenous event-related potentials in obsessive-compulsive disorder

James Towey, Gerard Bruder, Eric Hollander, David Friedman, Hulya Erhan, Michael Liebowitz, Samuel Sutton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

79 Scopus citations


Brain event-related potentials (ERPs) were used to investigate central nervous system (CNS) correlates of cognitive function in obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). ERPs of 10 unmedicated OCD patients and 10 normal controls were measured in an auditory "oddball" task. Increasing task difficulty resulted in longer N200 and P300 latencies in normal subjects, but not in OCD patients. Moreover, OCD patients displayed shorter P300 latency than normal controls for the more difficult discrimination condition. This replicates prior findings of Beech et al. (1983) for a visual task. For both levels of task difficulty, OCD patients also showed greater negativity than normal controls in the N200 region, which extended into the subsequent slow wave region. Negativities in the N200 and slow wave regions were larger at sites over the left hemisphere than the right hemisphere. The enhanced negativities and reduced P300 latency in OCD patients are discussed in terms of current theories postulating cortical hyperarousal and left hemisphere involvement in OCD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)92-98
Number of pages7
JournalBiological Psychiatry
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 15 1990
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biological Psychiatry


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