WJNS  Vol.4 No.4 , August 2014
Control Groups: Not Truly Baseline

Although routinely used, control group criteria vary considerably in research. Drawing from aspects in our normative study on musical emotion perception, we show how a group of participants who would normally be considered a control group in most studies, display clear event-related potential (ERP) differences when grouped by affective assessment scores that are rarely administered to presumed “control” group candidates. This preliminary finding demonstrates the importance of careful screening of control group membership. Failure in this process can produce misleading observations, undermining the validity of results.

Cite this paper
Choy, T. and Connolly, J. (2014) Control Groups: Not Truly Baseline. World Journal of Neuroscience, 4, 319-325. doi: 10.4236/wjns.2014.44036.
[1]   Boot, W.R., Simons, D.J. Stothart, C. and Stutts, C. (2013) The Pervasive Problem with Placebos in Psychology: Why Active Control Groups Are Not Sufficient to Rule out Placebo Effects. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 8, 445-454. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1745691613491271

[2]   Choy, T.L. (2013) Event-Related Potential (ERP) Responses to Music as a Measure of Emotion. Ph.D. Thesis, McMaster University, Hamilton.

[3]   Taylor, G.J., Bagby, M.R. and Parker, J.D.A. (1997) Disorders of Affect Regulation—Alexithymia in Medical and Psychiatry Illness. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (UK).

[4]   Juslin, P.N. and Vastfjall, D. (2008) Emotional Responses to Music: The Need to Consider Underlying Mechanisms. Behavioural and Brain Sciences, 31, 559-621.

[5]   Damasio, A. (2000) The Feeling of What Happens—Body, Emotion and the Making of Consciousness. Cox & Wyman Limited, Berkshire (Reading).

[6]   Krystal, H. (1988) Integration and Self-Healing: Affect-Trauma-Alexithymia. The Analytic Press, Hillsdale, NJ.

[7]   Dolan, R.J. (2002) Emotion, Cognition and Behaviour. Science, 298, 1191-1194.

[8]   Panksepp, J. (2003) At the Interface of Affective, Behavioural and Cognitive Neurosciences: Decoding the Emotional Feelings of the Brain. Brain and Cognition, 52, 4-14. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0278-2626(03)00003-4

[9]   Thalpar, A., Colloshow, S., Pine, D.S. and Thalpar, A.K. (2012) Depression in Adolescence. Lancet, 379, 1056-1067.

[10]   Gotlib, I.H. and Joorman, J. (2010) Cognition and Depression: Current Status and Future Directions. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, 6, 285-312.

[11]   Taylor, G.J. and Bagby, M.R. (2004) New Trends in Alexithymia Research. Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, 73, 68-77. http://dx.doi.org/10.1159/000075537

[12]   Leweke, F., Leichsenring, F., Kruse, J. and Hermes, S. (2012) Is Alexithymia Associated with Specific Mental Disorders. Psychopathology, 45, 22-28. http://dx.doi.org/10.1159/000325170

[13]   Lumley, M.A., Neely, L.C. and Burger, A.J. (2007) The Assessment of Alexithymia in Medical Settings: Implications for Understanding and Treating Health Problems. Journal of Personality Assessment, 89, 230-246.

[14]   Nemiah, J.C. and Sifneos, P.E. (1970) Psychosomatic Illness: A Problem in Communication. Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, 18, 154-160. http://dx.doi.org/10.1159/000286074

[15]   Lane, R.D., Ahern, G.L., Schwartz, G.E. and Kazniak, A.W. (1997) Is Alexithymia the Emotional Equivalent of Blindsight? Biological Psychiatry, 42, 834-844. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0006-3223(97)00050-4

[16]   Berridge, K.C. and Winkielman, P. (2003) What Is an Unconscious Emotion? The Case for Unconscious “Liking”. Cognition and Emotion, 17, 181-211. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02699930302289

[17]   Frawley, W. and Smith, R.N. (2001) A Processing Theory of Alexithymia. Journal of Cognitive Systems Research, 2, 189-206. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1389-0417(01)00029-8

[18]   Honkalampi, K., Hintikka, J., Tanskanen, A., Lehtonen, J. and Viinamaki, H. (2000) Depression Is Strongly Associated with Alexithymia in the General Population. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 48, 99-104.

[19]   Kupfer, D.J., Frank, E. and Phillips, M.L. (2012) Major Depressive Disorder: New Clinical, Neurobiological and Treatment Perspectives. Lancet, 379, 1045-1055. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(11)60602-8

[20]   Levant, R.F., Hall, R.H., Williams, C.M. and Hasan, N.T. (2009) Gender Differences in Alexithymia. Psychology of Men & Masculinity, 10, 190-203. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0015652

[21]   Bagby, R.M., Parker, J.D.A and Taylor, G.J. (1994) The Twenty-Item Toronto Alexithymia Scale-I: Item Selection and Cross Validation of the Factor Structure. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 38, 23-32.

[22]   Vorst, H.C.M. and Bermond, B. (2001) Validity and Reliability of the Bermond-Vorst Alexithymia Questionnaire. Personality and Individual Differences, 30, 413-434. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0191-8869(00)00033-7

[23]   Beck, A.T., Brown, G. and Steer, R.A. (1996) Beck Depression Inventory II Manual. The Psychological Corporation, San Antonio (Texas).

[24]   Peretz, I. (1996) Can We Lose Memories for Music? The Case of Music Agnosia in a Nonmusician. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 8, 372-380. http://dx.doi.org/10.1162/jocn.1996.8.6.481

[25]   Franz, M., Schaefer, R., Schneider, C., Sitte, W. and Bachor, J. (2004) Visual Event-related Potentials in Subjects with Alexithymia: Modified Processing of Emotional Aversive Information? American Journal of Psychiatry, 161, 728-735.

[26]   Vermeulen, N., Luminet, O. and Corneille, O. (2006) Alexithymia and the Automatic Processing of Affective Information: Evidence from the Affective Priming Paradigm. Cognition and Emotion, 20, 64-91.

[27]   O’Rourke, T.B. and Holcomb, P.J. (2002) Electrophysiological Evidence for the Efficiency of Spoken Word Recognition. Biological Psychology, 60, 121-150. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0301-0511(02)00045-5

[28]   Monsell, S. (2003) Task Switching. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 7, 134-140.

[29]   Vanheule, S., Desmet, M., Verhaeghe, P. and Bogaierts, S. (2007) Alexithymic Depression: Evidence for a Depression Subtype? Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, 76, 315-316.

[30]   Honkalampi, K., Saarinen, P., Hintikka, J., Virtanen, V. and Viinamaki, H. (2000) Factors Associated with Alexithymia in Patients Suffering from Depression. Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, 68, 270-275.

[31]   Parker, J.D.A., Keefer, K.V., Taylor, G.J. and Bagby, R.M. (2008) Latent Structure of the Alexithymia Structure: A Taxonomic Investigation. Psychological Assessment, 20, 385-396.