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Psychophysiology. 1999 Mar;36(2):149-57.

Error-related processing during a period of extended wakefulness.

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Department of Psychology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 61820, USA.


The nature of error detection as manifested by the error-related negativity was examined in both a Sternberg memory search task and a visual search task. Both tasks were performed in conditions with consistent or varied stimulus-response mapping and loads of three or six letters. After subjects were trained extensively in all conditions, they performed the tasks throughout the night without sleeping. The data suggest that the effectiveness of error detection decreases over time because of a decrease in the quality of perceptual processing. Error detection also suffers when performance requires more search-related resources. In both cases, the representation of the correct response is compromised. These results indicate that error detection depends on the same perceptual and cognitive processes that are required for correct performance.

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