Cerebral Correlates of Automatic Associations Towards Performance Enhancing Substances

Schindler S, Wolff W (2015)
Frontiers in Psychology 6: 1923.

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Journal Article | Published | English
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Abstract
The direct assessment of explicit attitudes toward performance enhancing substances, for example Neuroenhancement or doping in sports, can be affected by social desirability biases and cheating attempts. According to Dual Process Theories of cognition, indirect measures like the Implicit Association Test (IAT) measure automatic associations toward a topic (as opposed to explicit attitudes measured by self-report measures). Such automatic associations are thought to occur rapidly and to evade voluntary control. However, whether or not such indirect tests actually reflect automatic associations is difficult to validate. Electroencephalography (EEG) has a superior time resolution which can differentiate between highly automatic compared to more elaborate processing stages. We therefore used EEG to examine on which processing stages cortical differences between negative or positive attitudes to doping occur, and whether or not these differences can be related to BIAT scores. We tested 42 university students (31 females, 24.43 ± 3.17 years old), who were requested to complete a brief doping IAT (BIAT) on attitudes toward doping. Cerebral activity during doping BIAT completion was assessed using high-density EEG. Behaviorally, participants D-scores exhibited negative attitudes toward doping, represented by faster reaction times in the doping + dislike pairing task. Event-related potentials (ERPs) revealed earliest effects between 200 and 300 ms. Here, a relatively larger occipital positivity was found for the doping + dislike pairing task. Further, in the LPP time range between 400 and 600 ms a larger late positive potential was found for the doping + dislike pairing task over central regions. These LPP amplitude differences were successfully predicting participants' BIAT D-scores. Results indicate that event-related potentials differentiate between positive and negative doping attitudes at stages of mid-latency. However, it seems that IAT scores can be predicted only by the later occurring LPP. Our study is the first to investigate the cerebral correlates that contribute to test scores obtained in the indirect testing of automatic associations toward doping. The implications of our results for the broader NE concept are discussed in light of the conceptual similarity of doping and NE.
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Article Processing Charge funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft and the Open Access Publication Fund of Bielefeld University.
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Schindler S, Wolff W. Cerebral Correlates of Automatic Associations Towards Performance Enhancing Substances. Frontiers in Psychology. 2015;6: 1923.
Schindler, S., & Wolff, W. (2015). Cerebral Correlates of Automatic Associations Towards Performance Enhancing Substances. Frontiers in Psychology, 6: 1923.
Schindler, S., and Wolff, W. (2015). Cerebral Correlates of Automatic Associations Towards Performance Enhancing Substances. Frontiers in Psychology 6:1923.
Schindler, S., & Wolff, W., 2015. Cerebral Correlates of Automatic Associations Towards Performance Enhancing Substances. Frontiers in Psychology, 6: 1923.
S. Schindler and W. Wolff, “Cerebral Correlates of Automatic Associations Towards Performance Enhancing Substances”, Frontiers in Psychology, vol. 6, 2015, : 1923.
Schindler, S., Wolff, W.: Cerebral Correlates of Automatic Associations Towards Performance Enhancing Substances. Frontiers in Psychology. 6, : 1923 (2015).
Schindler, Sebastian, and Wolff, Wanja. “Cerebral Correlates of Automatic Associations Towards Performance Enhancing Substances”. Frontiers in Psychology 6 (2015): 1923.
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