Objectives: The N2b is an event-related potential (ERP) component thought to index higher-order executive function. While the impact of concussion on executive functioning is frequently discussed in the literature, limited research has been done on the role of N2b in evaluating executive functioning in patients with concussion. The aims of this review are to consolidate an understanding of the cognitive functions reflected by the N2b and to account for discrepancies in literature findings regarding the N2b and concussion.
Methods: A scoping review was conducted on studies that used the N2b to measure cognitive functioning in healthy control populations, as well as in people with concussions.
Results: Sixty-six articles that met inclusion criteria demonstrated that the N2b effectively represents stimulus-response conflict management, response selection, and response inhibition. However, the 19 included articles investigating head injury (using terms such as concussion, mild head injury, and mild traumatic brain injury) found widely varied results: some studies found the amplitude of the N2b to be increased in the concussion group, while others found it to be decreased or unchanged.
Conclusion: Based on the available evidence, differences in the amplitude of the N2b have been linked to response selection, conflict, and inhibition deficits in concussion. However, due to large variations in methodology across studies, findings about the directionality of this effect remain inconclusive. The results of this review suggest that future research should be conducted with greater standardization and consistency.