Social context modulates cognitive markers in Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Hernando Santamaría-García, Carles Soriano-Mas, Miguel Burgaleta, Alba Ayneto, Pino Alonso, José M. Menchón, Narcis Cardoner, Nuria Sebastián-Gallés

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearch

4 Citations (Scopus)


© 2017, © 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. Error monitoring, cognitive control and motor inhibition control are proposed as cognitive alterations disrupted in obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). OCD has also been associated with an increased sensitivity to social evaluations. The effect of a social simulation over electrophysiological indices of cognitive alterations in OCD was examined. A case-control cross-sectional study measuring event-related potentials (ERP) for error monitoring (Error-Related Negativity), cognitive control (N2) and motor control (LRP) was conducted. We analyzed twenty OCD patients and twenty control participants. ERP were recorded during a social game consisting of a visual discrimination task, which was performed in the presence of a simulated superior or an inferior player. Significant social effects (different ERP amplitudes in Superior vs. Inferior player conditions) were found for OCD patients, but not for controls, in all ERP components. Performing the task against a simulated inferior player reduced abnormal ERP responses in OCD to levels observed in controls. The hierarchy-induced ERP effects were accompanied effects over reaction times in OCD patients. Social context modulates signatures of abnormal cognitive functioning in OCD, therefore experiencing a social superiority position impacts over cognitive processes in OCD such as error monitoring mechanisms. These results open the door for the research of new therapeutic choices.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)579-593
JournalSocial Neuroscience
Publication statusPublished - 3 Sept 2018


  • cognitive control
  • error monitoring process
  • evoked potentials
  • motor control
  • obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Social hierarchy


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