A dimensional examination of eating disorder symptoms in relation to cognitive processing: An event-related potentials study
Identifying neurocognitive mechanisms involved in individuals experiencing eating disorder (ED) symptoms may be important for preventing EDs and improving rates of recovery. The present pilot study assessed how cognitive functioning may be associated with ED symptoms in college students (N = 41). Cognitive functioning was examined using electroencephalography during an auditory response inhibition task to measure the P3 component of event-related potentials. Multiple regression analysis revealed that longer P3 latencies in the frontal region of the cortex were significantly and linearly associated with greater ED symptoms F(3, 37) = 13.62, p <.001, R2 = 0.525, Adj. R2 = 0.486. These pilot findings build upon prior work in clinical samples in that they indicate that functional brain differences are observable across a wide span of ED symptoms, not just in those with diagnosed ED. The present findings provide support for further exploration of changes in P3 latencies among individuals with ED symptoms to enhance our understanding of neural mechanisms that may pertain to the dimensional aspects of disordered eating attitudes and behaviors.
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