Effortful control is considered to be an important factor in explaining individual differences in trait anger. In the current study, we sought to investigate the relation between anger-primed effortful control (i.e., inhibitory control and error-processing) and trait anger using an affective Go/NoGo task. Individuals low (LTA; n=. 45) and high (HTA; n=. 49) on trait anger were selected for this study. Behavioral performance (accuracy) and Event-Related Potentials (ERPs; i.e., N2, P3, ERN, Pe) were compared between both groups. Contrary to our predictions, we found no group differences regarding inhibitory control. That is, HTA and LTA individuals made comparable numbers of commission errors on NoGo trials and no significant differences were found on the N2 and P3 amplitudes. With respect to error-processing, we found reduced Pe amplitudes following errors in HTA individuals as compared to LTA individuals, whereas the ERN amplitudes were comparable for both groups. These results indicate that high trait anger individuals show deficits in later stages of error-processing, which may explain the continuation of impulsive behaviors in HTA individuals despite their negative consequences.

Error related negativity, Error-processing, Inhibitory control, N2, P3, Positivity error, Trait anger
dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpsycho.2015.12.001, hdl.handle.net/1765/82690
International Journal of Psychophysiology
Department of Psychology

Lievaart, D.M, van der Veen, F.M, Huijding, J, Naeije, L.L, Hovens, J.E.J.M, & Franken, I.H.A. (2016). Trait anger in relation to neural and behavioral correlates of response inhibition and error-processing. International Journal of Psychophysiology, 99, 40–47. doi:10.1016/j.ijpsycho.2015.12.001