Electrophysiological correlates of performance monitoring under social observation in patients with social anxiety disorder and healthy controls

Rolf Voegler, Jutta Peterburs, Hannah Lemke, Sebastian Ocklenburg, Roman Liepelt, Thomas Straube

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Previous research suggests that electrophysiological correlates of performance monitoring, in particular the error-related negativity (ERN), vary according to psychopathology and context factors. The present study examined the effect of social context on behavioral and electrophysiological correlates of performance monitoring in healthy adult subjects and in patients with social anxiety disorder (SAD). Participants performed two runs of a Go/NoGo flanker task in different social conditions: in the observation condition, they were observed by a confederate while performing the task, whereas there was no observation in the control condition. Behavioral data showed that accuracy and response times were not modulated by social observation and also did not systematically differ between groups. Post-error slowing was more pronounced in patients, independent of observation condition. ERN amplitudes were generally increased under social observation as compared to the control condition regardless of group (patients, controls). No effects of social context or group were found for PE, NoGo-N2, and NoGo-P3. Exploratory analysis revealed a late sustained parietal negativity to errors in patients as compared to controls. Taken together, the present findings emphasize the importance of social context for the processes underlying performance monitoring. However, the notion of altered error monitoring reflected in an altered ERN in SAD is not supported by our data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)71-80
Number of pages10
JournalBiological Psychology
StatePublished - Feb 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • EEG
  • Error processing
  • Error-related negativity (ERN)
  • Flanker task
  • Performance monitoring
  • Social anxiety disorder (SAD)
  • Social facilitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology


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