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Keywords:

  • posttraumatic stress disorder;
  • working memory;
  • event-related potentials;
  • topography

Abstract

This study examined ERP topography during the updating and the utilization of working memory in subjects with PTSD. Event-related potentials of 18 participants with PTSD and 18 controls were recorded from 32 scalp electrodes during an auditory target detection task requiring the constant updating of target identity. Midline N2 and P3 abnormalities previously noted in PTSD during target detection were replicated. Scalp topographic data revealed sustained reduction in activity over the right hemisphere during working memory updating. Executive processes were associated with brief but widespread right hemisphere reductions during the P3, followed by sustained, bilateral reduction frontally. This study identifies an abnormal pattern of cortical network function during both the updating and use of working memory in PTSD.