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Int J Psychophysiol. 2003 Feb;47(2):175-83.

The relationship between reaction time, error rate and anterior cingulate cortex activity.

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Laboratory for Clinical Psychophysiology, Department of Psychiatry, Free University, Berlin, Germany.


Current concepts of cognitive control suggest that the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) is involved in performance monitoring. This idea is supported by the finding that increased ACC activity is found in situations in which errors are likely to occur, even if none are actually made. In addition, recent results suggest that increased ACC activity is negatively correlated with reaction time. We have now compared the error rates and the ACC activity of healthy subjects with short (n=19) vs. long reaction times (n=17) in an auditory choice reaction paradigm and analysed the current density differences in the ACC in the time range of the N1 component with low resolution electromagnetic tomography. Subjects with short reaction times showed significantly more ACC activation (Brodmann Area 24) and an increased error rate. This finding suggests that increased ACC activity is associated with a gain in reaction speed at the expense of correctness and is discussed in the context of current concepts about the role of the ACC in cognitive functions.

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