Acute tryptophan depletion selectively attenuates cardiac slowing in an Eriksen flanker task
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In the present study, the effects of transiently lowering central serotonin levels by means of acute tryptophan depletion on measures of cognitive flexibility were examined. Flexible behaviour was measured in an Eriksen flanker task, and cardiac and electro-cortical responses to errors and congruent and incongruent stimuli were measured. The depletion was successful in lowering tryptophan levels and, as expected, it did not affect subjective mood. Depletion did not affect performance and electro-cortical measures and selectively affected cardiac measures. Depletion attenuated cardiac slowing to incongruent flanker stimuli but did not affect cardiac responses to congruent stimuli and errors. The selective effect on cardiac responses as compared to performance and electro-cortical measures was in accordance with earlier findings, as well as the attenuation of cardiac slowing. The selective effect on the cardiac response to incongruent stimuli was unexpected. Detailed analyses showed a close connection to the earlier reported attenuation of the cardiac response to negative feedback, and the effect is explained in terms of reduced anticipation of the feedback stimulus due to enhanced punishment prediction.
- acute tryptophan depletion, Eriksen flanker task, ERN, ERP, error detection, heart rate, serotonin, ERROR-RELATED NEGATIVITY, HEALTHY-VOLUNTEERS, NEURAL SYSTEM, STROOP TASK, PERFORMANCE FEEDBACK, BRAIN POTENTIALS, BOLD RESPONSE, HEART-RATE, INFORMATION, SEROTONIN