Peer Observation and Error Monitoring in First-Year Students: An Examination of Associations with Internalizing Symptoms
Because of the unique factors impacting the first year of college, specifically the potential for increased comparison to and evaluation by peers and risk of anxiety and depression, making a mistake can be very distressing. Using electroencephalogram (EEG) and focusing on an event-related potential (ERP) known as the error-related negativity (ERN), we examined how perceived observation, symptoms of anxiety, and symptoms of depression affected neural and behavioral error responses in first-year college students. Participants were more accurate in the observation than control condition. There was a significant difference in the ERN between error and correct responses in both conditions, but there was not a significant difference in error response in the observation compared to the control condition. Symptoms of anxiety and depression were not significantly related to error responses. Despite the nonsignificant results, this study is an important first step in understanding how multiple factors may affect error responses so that we can intervene to improve adjustment for first-year college students. This paper was completed in PSY/PSY-PC 4999-01 (Honors Thesis), with Dr. Autumn Kujawa as the faculty mentor.