The self-regulation of slow potential shifts and evoked potentials: interrelationships in response to somatosensory stimulation

Carla Douros, Rathe Karrer*, J. Peter Rosenfeld

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Research on the effects of the self-regulation of event-related potentials (ERP) has failed to investigate the possible interactions and contributions of slower cortical events such as contingent negative variations (CNV) and slower DC level changes. The present study attempted to investigate such interactions by independently conditioning the ERP 200 ms poststimulus (P200) and the CNV while recording both potentials simultaneously; DC level measures were also recorded. 30 subjects attempted to increase (uptraining) or decrease (downtraining) either P200 or CNV in response to sub-painful somatosensory stimulation in a biofeedback paradigm. Following the training sessions, P200 downtrainees reported a significant decrease in their detection thresholds for the somatosensory stimuli (i.e., increased sensitivity). These results agree with some prior findings that decreased ERP amplitude in individuals is indicative of greater sensitivity in subjective pain reports. Although uptraining resulted in larger P200 amplitudes than downtraining, the difference in amplitudes between groups was not significant. CNV uptrainees achieved a higher level of pain tolerance following training. The increased CNV negativity may be associated with increased specific attentional processes that facilitate the subjects' control of, or response to, pain. CNV trainers showed a significant interaction of training over blocks of trials. Generally, there was a significant inverse correlation of P200 and CNV; as CNV amplitude became more negative, the P200 amplitude increased. DC negativity level increased over blocks for all conditions. Results indicate a complex relationship between P200, CNV and pain sensitivity. Both P200 and CNV processes are involved in pain perception, but in apparently different ways, i.e., P200 with sensitivity and CNV with tolerance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)69-80
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Psychophysiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1994


  • Biofeedback
  • Contingent negative variations
  • Event-related potentials
  • Pain
  • Poststimulus conditioning
  • Self-regulation
  • Slow potentials
  • Somatosensory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Physiology (medical)
  • General Neuroscience


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