Auditory event-related electroencephalographic potentials in borderline personality disorder

Chiara Penengo, Chiara Colli, Carolina Bonivento, Andrea Boscutti, Matteo Balestrieri, Giuseppe Delvecchio, Paolo Brambilla

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background: Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is characterized by mood dysregulation, impulsivity, identity disturbances, and a higher risk for suicide. Currently, the diagnosis is solely based on clinical observation of overt symptoms, and this can delay the detection of the disease and the timely start of appropriate treatment. Several candidate clinical tools have been studied to better characterize BPD, including event-related potentials (ERP). This review aimed at summarizing the results of the available ERP studies on BPD to clarify the possible application of this technique in the early diagnosis of BPD. Methods: A bibliographic search on PubMed and PsycInfo was performed in order to identify studies comprising individuals with BPD diagnosis and a control group that evaluated the ERP elicited by auditory stimuli. Results: Ten studies that explored various ERP components associated with auditory stimuli in BPD were included. Overall, the results showed that positive ERP (P50, P100, and P300) amplitude and latencies as well as loudness dependance were altered in BPD patients compared to controls, possibly reflecting deficits involving attention, mainly at its early stage, and executive functions. Limitations: The reviewed studies used different ERP approaches and non-homogeneous BPD diagnostic criteria. Conclusions: Auditory ERP appear to be a promising tool for the assessment of BPD patients, especially for early diagnosis and evaluation of cognitive symptoms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)454-464
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2022


  • Attention deficit
  • Borderline personality disorder
  • EEG
  • Event related potential
  • Impulsivity
  • Psychotic vulnerability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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