Electroencephalographic and skin temperature indices of vigilance and inhibitory control

Open access


Neurophysiological markers of the ability to sustain attention and exert inhibitory control of inappropriate responses have usually relied on neuroimaging methods, which are not easily applicable to real-world settings. The current research tested the ability of electroencephalographic and skin temperature markers to predict performance during the Sustained Attention to Response Task (SART), which demands vigilance and inhibitory control. In Experiment 1, we recorded the electroencephalogram (EEG) during the performance of SART and found that event-related potentials underlying inhibitory control (N1 and N2/P3) were influenced by a time on task effect, suggesting a decrement in attentional resources necessary for optimal inhibitory control. In Experiments 2 and 3, we recorded skin temperatures (distal, proximal and the distal-proximal temperature gradient –DPG) and found that they were sensitive to differential demands of mental workload, and that they were related to behavioural performance in the SART. This study suggests that the recording of EEG and skin temperature may be used to monitor fluctuations of attention in natural settings, although further research should clarify the exact psychological interpretation of these physiological indices.

Adan, A., & Almirall, H. (1991). Horne and Ösrberg Morningness–eveningness questionnaire: A reduced scale. Personality and Individual Differences, 12, 241-253.

Baker, F., & Driver, H. (2007). Circadian rhythms, sleep, and the menstrual cycle. Sleep Medicine, 8, 613-622. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sleep.2006.09.011

Ballard, J. (1996). Computerized Assessment of Sustained Attention: A Review of Factors Affecting Vigilance Performance. Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology, 18(6), 843-863. https://doi.org/10.1080/01688639608408307

Benikos, N., Johnstone, S. J., & Rooddenrys, S. J. (2013). Varying task difficulty in the Go/Nogo task: The effects of inhibitory control, arousal, and perceived effort on ERP components. International Journal of Psychophysiology, 87, 262-272. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpsycho.2012.08.005

Blatter, K., Graw, P., Münch, M., Knoblauch, V., Wirz-Justice, A., & Cajochen, C. (2006). Gender and age differences in psychomotor vigilance performance under differential sleep pressure conditions. Behavioural Brain Research, 168, 312-317. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbr.2005.11.018

Bokura, H., Yamaguchi, S., & Kobayashi, S. (2001). Electrophysiological correlates for response inhibition in a Go/NoGo task. Clinical Neurophysiology, 112, 2224-2232. PMID: 11738192

Carrillo de la Peña, M., & Cadaveira, F. (2000). The effect of motivational instructions on P300 amplitude. Neurophysiologie Clinique, 30(4), 232-239. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0987-7053(00)00220-3

Cheyne, J. A., Carriere, J., & Smilek, D. (2006). Absent-mindedness: Lapses of conscious awareness and everyday cognitive failures. Consciousness and Cognition, 15, 578-592. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.concog.2005.11.009

Correa, A., Molina, E., & Sanabria, D. (2014). Effects of chronotype and time of day on the vigilance decrement during simulated driving. Accident Analysis & Prevention, 67, 113-118. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.aap.2014.02.020

Cosi, S., Vigil-Colet, A., Canals, J., & Lorenzo-Seva, U. (2008). Psychometric properties of the Spanish adaptation of the Barratt Impulsiveness Scale-11-A for children. Psychological Reports, 103, 336-346. https://doi.org/10.2466/pr0.103.2.336-346

Davies, D. R., & Parasuraman, R. (1982). The psychology of vigilance. London: Academic Press.

Díaz-Morales, J., Escribano, C., & Jankowski, K. (2015). Chronotype and time-of-day effects on mood during school day. Chronobiology International, 32, 37-42. https://doi.org/10.3109/07420528.2014.949736

Dinges, D. F., & Powell, J. W. (1985). Microcomputer analyses of performance on a portable, simple visual RT task during sustained operations. Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, & Computers, 17, 652-655. https://doi.org/10.3758/BF03200977

Ernst, M. D. (2004). Permutation methods: a basis for exact inference. Statist Sci, 19(4), 678-85.

Escribano, C., & Díaz-Morales, J. (2014). Daily fluctuations in attention at school considering starting and chronotype: an exploratory study. Chronobiology International, 31, 761-769. https://doi.org/10.3109/07420528.2014.898649

Escribano, C., & Díaz-Morales, J. (2016). Sleep Habits and Chronotype Effects on Academic and Cognitive Performance in Spanish Adolescents: A Review. International Online Journal of Educational Sciences, 8(5), 17-29. http://dx.doi.org/10.15345/iojes.2016.05.003

Falkenstein, M., Hoormann, J., & Hohnbein, J. (1999). ERP components in Go/Nogo tasks and their relation to inhibition. Acta Psychologica, 101, 267-291. PMID: 10344188

Folkard, S. (1997). Black times: temporal determinants of transport safety. Accident, Analysis and Prevention, 29(4), 417-430. PMID: 9248500

Goel, N., Rao, H., Durmer, J., & Dinges, D. (2009). Neurocognitive consequences of sleep deprivation. Seminars in Neurology, 29(4), 320-339. https://dx.doi.org/10.1055%2Fs-0029-1237117

Goldstein, D., Hahn, C., Hasher, L., Wiprzycka, U., & Zelazo, P. (2007). Time of day, Intellectual Performance, and Behavioral Problems in Morning versus Evening type Adolescents: Is there a Synchrony Effect? Personality and Individual Differences, 42(3), 430-440. https://dx.doi.org/10.1016%2Fj.paid.2006.07.008

Gradisar, M., & Lack, L. (2004). Relationship between the circadian rhythms of finger temperature, core temperature, sleep latency, and subjective sleepiness. Journal of Biological Rhythms, 19, 157-163. https://doi.org/10.1177/0748730403261560

Grier, R. A., Warm, J. S., Dember, W. N., Matthews, G., Galinsky, T. L., & Parasuraman, R. (2003). The vigilance decrement reflects limitations in effortful attention, not mindlessness. Human Factors, 45, 349-359. https://doi.org/10.1518/hfes.45.3.349.27253

Haubert, A., Walsh, M., Boyd, R., Morris, M., Wiedbusch, M., Krusmark, M., & Gunzelmann, G. (2018). Relationship of Event-Related Potentials to the Vigilance Decrement. Frontiers in Psychology, 9, 237. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00237

Helton, W. S., & Russell, P. N. (2011). Working memory load and the vigilance decrement. Experimental Brain Research, 212(3), 429-37. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00221-011-2749-1

Kato, Y., Endo, H., & Kizuka, T. (2009). Mental fatigue and impaired response processes: Event-related brain potentials in a Go/NoGo task. International Journal of Psychophysiology, 11, 204-211. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpsycho.2008.12.008

Kelley, P., Lockley, S., Kelley, J., & Evans, M. (2017). Is 8:30 a.m. Still Too Early to Start School? A 10:00 a.m. School Start Time Improves Health and Performance of Students Aged 13-16. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 11, 588. https://dx.doi.org/10.3389%2Ffnhum.2017.00588

Koelega, H. S., Verbaten, M. N., van Leeuven, T. H., Kenemans, J. L., Kemmer, C., & Sjouw, W. (1992). Time effects on event-related brain potentials and vigilance performance. Biological Psychology, 34, 59-86. PMID: 1420655

Kräuchi, K. (2007a). The human sleep-wake cycle reconsidered from a thermoregulatory point of view. Physiology & Behavior, 90, 236-245. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.physbeh.2006.09.005

Kräuchi, K. (2007b). The thermophysiological cascade leading to sleep initiation in relation to phase of entrainment. Sleep Medicine Reviews, 11, 439-451. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.smrv.2007.07.001

Kräuchi, K., Cajochen, C., Werth, E., & Wirz-Justice, A. (1999). Warm feet promote the rapid onset of sleep. Nature, 401, 36-37. https://doi.org/10.1038/43366

Lara, T., Madrid, J. A., & Correa, Á. (2014). The vigilance decrement in executive function is attenuated when individual chronotypes perform at their optimal time of day. PLoS ONE, 9(2), e88820. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0088820

Lo, S., & Andrews, S. (2015). To transform or no transform: using generalized linear mixed models to analyse reaction time data. Frontiers in Psychology, 6, 1171. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01171

Luus, B., Van Snellenberg, J., & Liotti, M. (2007). To stop or no to stop: a high spatio-temporal resolution study of response inhibition using MEG. International Congress Series, 1300, 425-428. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ics.2007.03.016

Mackworth, N. H. (1948). The breakdown of vigilance during prolongued visual search. Quaterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 1, 6-21. https://doi.org/10.1080/17470214808416738

Maire, M., Reichert, C. F., Gabel, V., Viola, A. U., Krebs, J., Strobel, W., . . . Schmidt, C. (2014). Time-on-task decrement in vigilance is modulated by inter-individual vulnerability to homeostatic sleep pressure manipulation. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 8, 59. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnbeh.2014.00059

Miyake, A., Friedman, N. P., Emerson, M. J., Witzki, A. H., Howerter, A., & Wager, T. D. (2000). The unity and diversity of executive functions and their contributions to complex “Frontal Lobe” tasks: a latent variable analysis. Cognitive Psychology, 41(1), 49-100. https://doi.org/10.1006/cogp.1999.0734

Möckel, T., Beste, C., & Wascher, E. (2015). The effects of Time on Task in Response Selection - An ERP study of Mental Fatigue. Scientific Reports, 5, 10113. https://doi.org/10.1038/srep10113

Monk, T. H. (1989). A Visual Analogue Scale technique to measure global vigor and affect. Psychiatry Research, 27, 89-99. PMID: 2922449

O´Connell, R. G., Dockree, P. M., Bellgrove, M. A., Turin, A., Ward, S., Foxe, J. J., & Robertson, I. H. (2009). Two types of action error: electrophysiological evidence for separable inhibition and sustained attention neural mechanisms producing error on go/no-go tasks. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 21(1), 93-104. https://doi.org/10.1162/jocn.2009.21008

Oken, B. S., Salinsky, M. C., & Elsas, S. M. (2006). Vigilance, alertness, or sustained attention: physiological basis and measurement. Clinical Neurophysiology, 117(9), 1885-1901. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.clinph.2006.01.017

Parasuraman, R., & Davies, D. R. (1977). A taxonomic analysis of vigilance. In M. RR (Ed.), Vigilance: Theory, operational performance and physiological correlates (pp. 559-574). New York: Plenum.

Parasuraman, R., Warm, J. S., & See, J. E. (1998). Brain systems of vigilance. In R. Parasuraman, The attentive brain (pp. 221-256). Cambridge: Massachussetts: MIT Press.

Paus, T., Zatorre, R. J., Hofle, N., Caramanos, Z., Gotman, J., Petrides, M., & Evans, A. C. (1997). Time-related changes in neural systems underlying attention and arousal during the performance of an auditory vigilance task. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 9(3), 392-408. https://doi.org/10.1162/jocn.1997.9.3.392

Perrin, F., Pernier, J., Bertrand, O., & Echallier, J. F. (1989). Spherical splines for scalp potential and current density mapping. Electroencephalography and Clinical Neurophysiology, 72(2), 184-187. https://doi.org/10.1016/0013-4694(89)90180-6

Polich, J. (2007). Updating P300: an integrative theory of P3a and P3b. Clinical Neurophysiology, 118(10), 2128-2148. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.clinph.2007.04.019

Polich, J., & Kok, A. (1995). Cognitive and biological determinants of P300: an integrative review. Biological Psychology, 41, 103-146. PMID: 8534788

Robertson, I. H., Manly, T., Andrade, J., Baddeley, B. T., & Yiend, J. (1997). “Oops!”: performance correlates of everyday attentional failures in traumatic brain injured and normal subjects. Neuropsychologia, 35, 747-758. PMID: 9204482

Roche, R., Garavan, H., Foxe, J., & O'Mara, S. (2005). Individual differenes discriminate event-related potentials but not performance during response inhibition. Experimental Brain Research, 160, 60-70. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00221-004-1985-z

Rodríguez-Morilla, B., Madrid, J., Molina, E., & Correa, A. (2017). Blue-Enriched White Light Enhances Physiological Arousal But Not Behavioral Performance during Simulated Driving at Early Night. Frontiers in Psychology, 8. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2017.00997

Romeijn, N., & Van Someren, E. (2011). Correlated fluctuations of daytime skin temperature and vigilance. Journal of Biological Rhythms, 26(1), 68-77. https://doi.org/10.1177/0748730410391894

Royuela, A., & Macías, J. A. (1997). Propiedades clinimétricas de la versión castellana del cuestionario de Pittsburgh. Vigilia-Sueño, 9, 81-94.

Ruchsow, M., Groen, G., Kiefer, M., Hermle, L., Spitzer, M., & Falkenstein, M. (2008). Impulsiveness and ERP components in a Go/Nogo task. Journal of Neural Transmission, 115, 909-915. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00702-008-0042-7

Sarabia, J. A., Rol, M. A., Mendiola, P., & Madrid, J. A. (2008). Circadian rhythm of wrist temperature in normal-living subjects A candidate of new index of the circadian system. Physiology & Behavior, 95, 570-580. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.physbeh.2008.08.005

Schmajuk, M., Liotti, M., Busse, L., & Woldorff, M. (2006). Electrophysiological activity underlying inhibitory control processes in normal adults. Neuropsychologia, 44, 384-395. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2005.06.005

Schneider, W., Eschman, A., & Zuccolotto, A. (2002). E-Prime user’s guide. Inc., Pittsburgh: Psychology Software Tools.

Shaw, T. H., Warm, J. S., Finomore, V., Tripp, L., Matthews, G., Weiler, E., & Parasuraman, R. (2009). Effects of sensory modality on cerebral blood flow velocity during vigilance. Neuroscience Letters, 461, 207-211. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neulet.2009.06.008

Soler, J., Tejedor, R., Feliu-Soler, A., Pascual, J. C., Cebolla, A., Soriano, J., . . . Perez, V. (2012). Psychometric propierties of Spanish version of Mindful Attention Awareness Scale (MAAS). Actas Españolas de Psiquiatría, 40, 19-26.

Tucker, D. M., Liotti, M., Potts, G. F., Russell, G. S., & Posner, M. I. (1994). Spatiotemporal analysis of brain electrical fields. Human Brain Mapping, 1, 134-152. https://doi.org/10.1002/hbm.460010206

van Marken Lichtenbelt, W. D., Daanen, H. A., Wouters, L., Fronczek, R., Raymann, R. J., Severens, N. M., & Van Someren, E. J. (2006). Evaluation of wireless determination of skin temperature using iButtons. Physiology & Behavior, 88, 489-497. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.physbeh.2006.04.026

Vetter, C., Fischer, D., Matera, J., & Roenneberg, T. (2015). Aligning Work and Circadian Time in Shift Workers Improves Sleep and Reduces Circadian Disruption. Current Biology, 25, 907-911. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2015.01.064

Vogel, E. K., & Luck, S. (2000). The visual N1 component as an index of a discrimination process. Psychophysiology, 37, 190-203. PMID: 10731769

Warm, J. S., Parasuraman, R., & Matthews, G. (2008). Vigilance requires hard mental work and is stressful. Human Factors, 50(3), 433–441. https://doi.org/10.1518/001872008X312152

Watson, N., Badr, M., Belenky, G., Bliwise, D., Buxton, O., Buysse, D., . . . Tasali, E. (2015). Recommended amount of sleep for a healthy adult: a joint consensus statement of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and Sleep Research Society. SLEEP, 38(6), 843-844. https://doi.org/10.5665/sleep.4716

Wittmann, M., Dinich, J., Merrow, M., & Roenneberg, T. (2006). Social Jetlag: Misalignment of Biological and Social Time. Chronobiology International, 23(1-2), 497-509. https://doi.org/10.1080/07420520500545979

Wright, K., Hull, J. T., & Czeisler, C. A. (2002). Relationship between alertness, performance, and body temperature in humans. American Journal of Physiology-Regulatory. Integrative and Comparative Physiology, 283, 1370-1377. https://doi.org/10.1152/ajpregu.00205.2002

Zerbini, G., van der Vinne, V., Otto, L., Kantermann, T., Krijnen, W., Roenneberg, T., & Merrow, M. (2017). Lower school performance in late chronotypes: underlying factors and mechanisms. Scientifics Reports, 7, 4385. https://dx.doi.org/10.1038%2Fs41598-017-04076-y

Zordan, L., Sarlo, M., & Stablum, F. (2008). ERP components activated by the “GO!” and “WITHHOLD!” conflict in the random Sustained Attention to Response Task. Brain and Cognition, 66, 57-64. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bandc.2007.05.005

Journal Information

IMPACT FACTOR 2017: 0.556
5-year IMPACT FACTOR: 0.609

Cited By


All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 170 170 33
PDF Downloads 86 86 10