Convergence of EEG and fMRI measures of reward anticipation

Stephanie M. Gorka, K. Luan Phan, Stewart A Shankman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Deficits in reward anticipation are putative mechanisms for multiple psychopathologies. Research indicates that these deficits are characterized by reduced left (relative to right) frontal electroencephalogram (EEG) activity and blood oxygenation level-dependent (BOLD) signal abnormalities in mesolimbic and prefrontal neural regions during reward anticipation. Although it is often assumed that these two measures capture similar mechanisms, no study to our knowledge has directly examined the convergence between frontal EEG alpha asymmetry and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) during reward anticipation in the same sample. Therefore, the aim of the current study was to investigate if and where in the brain frontal EEG alpha asymmetry and fMRI measures were correlated in a sample of 40 adults. All participants completed two analogous reward anticipation tasks-once during EEG data collection and the other during fMRI data collection. Results indicated that the two measures do converge and that during reward anticipation, increased relative left frontal activity is associated with increased left anterior cingulate cortex (ACC)/medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) and left orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) activation. This suggests that the two measures may similarly capture PFC functioning, which is noteworthy given the role of these regions in reward processing and the pathophysiology of disorders such as depression and schizophrenia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12-19
Number of pages8
JournalBiological Psychology
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015


  • Electroencephalography
  • Functional magnetic resonance imaging
  • Psychopathology
  • Reward anticipation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology

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