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PLoS One. 2012;7(5):e38006. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0038006. Epub 2012 May 31.

Foreshadowing of performance accuracy by event-related potentials: evidence from a minimal-conflict task.

Author information

  • 1Faculty of Sport Sciences, Waseda University, Tokorozawa, Saitama, Japan. masaki@waseda.jp

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Recent studies employing stimulus-response compatibility tasks suggest that an increase in the amplitude of the positive deflection of the response-locked event-related potential (ERP) foreshadows errors on forthcoming trials. However, no studies have tested the generalizability of error-foreshadowing positivity to tasks without stimulus-response interference.

METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS:

The present study adopted an alternating-response task, in which the participants responded to the pointing direction of an arrowhead (up or down). Although the arrowhead direction alternated for the majority of trials (95%), occasionally this pattern was broken by a repeated stimulus, termed a lure trial. We compared the matched-reaction-time correct-preceding ERP with the error-preceding ERP on lure-preceding trials. There was no evidence that errors are foreshadowed by the increase of a positive electroencephalogram (EEG) deflection. To the contrary, analyses of ERPs time-locked to electromyogram (EMG) onset on the five consecutive lure-preceding trials showed larger positive deflections on correct-preceding than error-preceding trials. The post-response negativity did not differ between correct-preceding and error-preceding trials.

CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE:

These results suggest that in minimal conflict tasks a decreased positivity may foreshadow incorrect performance several trials prior to the error, possibly reflecting the waning of task-related efforts. Therefore, error-foreshadowing brain signals may be task-specific.

PMID:
22701541
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3365114
Free PMC Article
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