Affective and cognitive correlates of PTSD: Electrocortical processing of threat and perseverative errors on the WCST in combat-related PTSD
PTSD is characterized by both affective and cognitive dysfunction. Affectively, PTSD is associated with both heightened emotional reactivity and disengagement. Cognitively, perseverative thinking is a core feature of the disorder. In order to assess the interactive effects of affective and cognitive correlates of PTSD symptoms, 47 OEF/OIF/OND veterans completed an emotional faces matching task while EEG (i.e., late positive potential; LPP) was recorded, and separately completed the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (WCST) to assess perseverative errors. There was no relationship between PTSD symptoms and either perseverative errors or EEG reactivity to faces. However, an interaction was found such that high perseverative errors on the WCST and a relatively enhanced LPP to angry faces was associated with greater PTSD symptoms, while low errors on the WCST and a relatively blunted LPP to angry faces also related to greater PTSD symptoms. These findings suggest that emotion-cognition interactions are important for understanding PTSD, and that distinct emotion-cognition constellations interact with symptoms.