Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Laura Swain

Second Advisor

Jane Stafford

Third Advisor

Alexandra Roach


Background: Individuals diagnosed with depression demonstrate differences in neural activation patterns detectable using electroencephalogram (EEG). One of these differences has been specifically linked with the event-related potential (ERP) component called feedback-related negativity (FRN). In participants diagnosed with depression, the FRN has been shown to have larger amplitudes in response to negative feedback. However, previous research has only specifically looked at the difference of this amplitude between groups, specifically those with and those without a diagnosis of depression. Objective: The goal of the current study was to examine whether a continuous range of depressive symptoms in participants can predict FRN amplitudes, including those with mild depressive symptoms and without a clinical diagnosis of a depressive disorder. Method: Twenty-six young adults were included in this study, and all completed a time-estimation task while brain activity was recorded using EEG. Participants received performance feedback after each trial, and FRN was measured in response to this feedback. Additionally, psychometrically sound measures of depressive symptoms were collected. Results: The results indicated that the predictive value of depressive symptoms on FRN amplitude to negative feedback was nearing significance. This could indicate that depressive symptoms alone, especially at lower levels, are not as predictive of FRN amplitude. Anxiety symptoms and depression symptoms together were able to positively predict FRN amplitude to negative feedback when placed in the regression model. Conclusions: This finding suggests that symptoms of anxiety may have more influence on FRN amplitude in response to positive feedback. This study adds to a growing body of research connecting emotions to specific event-related brain activity such as the FRN.