Error-related hyperactivity of the anterior cingulate cortex in obsessive-compulsive disorder

Kate Dimond Fitzgerald, Robert C. Welsh, William J. Gehring, James L. Abelson, Joseph A. Himle, Israel Liberzon, Stephan F. Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

317 Scopus citations


Hyperactivity of the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) in patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) has been shown to increase with symptom provocation and to normalize with treatment-induced symptom reduction. Although the functional significance of anterior cingulate involvement in OCD remains unknown, electrophysiological evidence has linked this region to error-processing abnormalities in patients with OCD. In this functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study, we sought to further localize error-processing differences within the ACC of OCD patients compared with healthy subjects. Event-related fMRI data were collected for eight OCD patients and seven healthy subjects during the performance of a simple cognitive task designed to elicit errors but not OCD symptoms. Both OCD patients and healthy subjects demonstrated dorsal ACC activation during error commission. The OCD patients exhibited significantly greater error-related activation of the rostral ACC than comparison subjects. Activity in this region was positively correlated with symptom severity in the patients. Error-processing abnormalities within the rostral anterior cingulate occur in the absence of symptom expression in patients with OCD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)287-294
Number of pages8
JournalBiological Psychiatry
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 1 2005


  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • anterior cingulate
  • error-processing
  • error-related negativity
  • functional magnetic resonance imaging
  • response conflict

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biological Psychiatry


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