Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
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.



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.


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.


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.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Public Library of Science Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk