Neural and behavioral traces of error awareness
Number of pages
SourceCognitive, Affective, & Behavioral Neuroscience, (2020)
6 oktober 2020
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ DCC SMN
Cognitive, Affective, & Behavioral Neuroscience
SubjectAction, intention, and motor control
Monitoring for errors and behavioral adjustments after errors are essential for daily life. A question that has not been addressed systematically yet, is whether consciously perceived errors lead to different behavioral adjustments compared to unperceived errors. Our goal was to develop a task that would enable us to study different commonly observed neural correlates of error processing and post-error adjustments in their relation to error awareness and accuracy confidence in a single experiment. We assessed performance in a new number judgement error awareness task in 70 participants. We used multiple, robust, single-trial EEG regressions to investigate the link between neural correlates of error processing (e.g., error-related negativity (ERN) and error positivity (Pe)) and error awareness. We found that only aware errors had a slowing effect on reaction times in consecutive trials, but this slowing was not accompanied by post-error increases in accuracy. On a neural level, error awareness and confidence had a modulating effect on both the ERN and Pe, whereby the Pe was most predictive of participants' error awareness. Additionally, we found partial support for a mediating role of error awareness on the coupling between the ERN and behavioral adjustments in the following trial. Our results corroborate previous findings that show both an ERN/Pe and a post-error behavioral adaptation modulation by error awareness. This suggests that conscious error perception can support meta-control processes balancing the recruitment of proactive and reactive control. Furthermore, this study strengthens the role of the Pe as a robust neural index of error awareness.
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