Error processing and inhibitory control enable the adjustment of behaviors to meet task demands. Functional magnetic resonance imaging studies report brain activation abnormalities in patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) during both processes. However, conclusions are limited by inconsistencies in the literature and small sample sizes. Therefore, the aim here was to perform a meta-analysis of the existing literature using unthresholded statistical maps from previous studies.
A voxelwise seed-based d mapping meta-analysis was performed using t-maps from studies comparing patients with OCD and healthy control subjects (HCs) during error processing and inhibitory control. For the error processing analysis, 239 patients with OCD (120 male; 79 medicated) and 229 HCs (129 male) were included, while the inhibitory control analysis included 245 patients with OCD (120 male; 91 medicated) and 239 HCs (135 male).
Patients with OCD, relative to HCs, showed longer inhibitory control reaction time (standardized mean difference = 0.20, p = .03, 95% confidence interval = 0.016, 0.393) and more inhibitory control errors (standardized mean difference = 0.22, p = .02, 95% confidence interval = 0.039, 0.399). In the brain, patients showed hyperactivation in the bilateral dorsal anterior cingulate cortex, supplementary motor area, and pre-supplementary motor area as well as right anterior insula/frontal operculum and anterior lateral prefrontal cortex during error processing but showed hypoactivation during inhibitory control in the rostral and ventral anterior cingulate cortices and bilateral thalamus/caudate, as well as the right anterior insula/frontal operculum, supramarginal gyrus, and medial orbitofrontal cortex (all seed-based d mapping z value >2, p < .001).
A hyperactive error processing mechanism in conjunction with impairments in implementing inhibitory control may underlie deficits in stopping unwanted compulsive behaviors in the disorder.
- error processing
- inhibitory control
- performance monitoring