Performance Monitoring in Social Interactions: Dynamics of Internal and External Signal Processing

Financed by: DFG

4/2016–4/2018 Project Head: Prof. Dr. Birgit Stürmer


Project Description

For performance monitoring the cognitive system uses both internal, self-generated signals and external ones. External signals are most often feedback given by others that could be either verbal or non-verbal like face expressions. Our cognitive system can flexibly shift between internal and external signals for performance monitoring. These dynamics, however, have never been considered in the study of psychological disorders characterized by a pathological inclination toward the self. Moreover, the direct investigation of the dynamics of internal and external processing in a social context is still largely missing. With the present project we aim at investigating dynamic shifts between internal and external signal processing for performance monitoring in various social situations as well as in a clinical population suffering from panic disorder. A hyperactivity of the performance monitoring system in anxiety was previously reported. We will especially focus on whether flexible shifts between internal and external signals for performance monitoring are still present in patients suffering from panic disorder. More concretely, we will investigate whether reduced flexibility in attentional allocation to internal or external signals parallels panic symptoms. A second line of experiments aims to investigate the dynamics of internal and external signal processing for performance monitoring in various social contexts when two people work together.