Electrocortical measures of information processing biases in social anxiety disorder: A review

Anita Harrewijn*, Louis A. Schmidt, P. Michiel Westenberg, Alva Tang, Melle J.W. van der Molen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

53 Citations (Scopus)


Social anxiety disorder (SAD) is characterized by information processing biases, however, their underlying neural mechanisms remain poorly understood. The goal of this review was to give a comprehensive overview of the most frequently studied EEG spectral and event-related potential (ERP) measures in social anxiety during rest, anticipation, stimulus processing, and recovery. A Web of Science search yielded 35 studies reporting on electrocortical measures in individuals with social anxiety or related constructs. Social anxiety was related to increased delta-beta cross-frequency correlation during anticipation and recovery, and information processing biases during early processing of faces (P1) and errors (error-related negativity). These electrocortical measures are discussed in relation to the persistent cycle of information processing biases maintaining SAD. Future research should further investigate the mechanisms of this persistent cycle and study the utility of electrocortical measures in early detection, prevention, treatment and endophenotype research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)324-348
Number of pages25
JournalBiological Psychology
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Research Profile Area: Health, Prevention, and the Human Life Cycle of Leiden University , and by the Leiden University Fund/Den Dulk-Moermans .

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Elsevier B.V.


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