J Korean Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry.  2021 Jul;32(3):93-98. 10.5765/jkacap.210012.

What Event-Related Potential Tells Us about Brain Function: Child-Adolescent Psychiatric Perspectives

  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Soonchunhyang University Cheonan Hospital, Soonchunhyang University College of Medicine, Cheonan, Korea
  • 2Department of Psychiatry, Soonchunhyang University Seoul Hospital, Soonchunhyang University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea


Electroencephalography (EEG) measures neural activation due to various cognitive processes. EEG and event-related potentials (ERPs) are widely used in studies investigating psychopathology and neural substrates of psychiatric diseases in children and adolescents. The present study aimed to review recent ERP studies in child and adolescent psychiatry. ERPs are non-invasive methods for studying synaptic functions in the brain. ERP might be a candidate biomarker in child-adolescent psychiatry, considering its ability to reflect cognitive and behavioral functions in humans. For the EEG study of psychiatric diseases in children and adolescents, several ERP components have been used, such as mismatch negativity, P300, error-related negativity (ERN), and reward positivity (RewP). Regarding executive functions and inhibition in patients with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), P300 latency, and ERN were significantly different in patients with ADHD compared to those in the healthy population. ERN showed meaningful changes in patients with anxiety disorders, such as generalized anxiety disorder, separation anxiety disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Patients with depression showed significantly attenuated RewP compared to the healthy population, which was related to the symptoms of anhedonia.


Electroencephalography; Event-related potentials; Child psychiatry; Psychopathology
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