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Psychophysiology. 2009 Nov;46(6):1288-98. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8986.2009.00860.x. Epub 2009 Jul 1.

Modulation of the error-related negativity by response conflict.

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Max Planck Institute for Neurological Research, Cognitive Neurology Group, Gleueler Stasse 50, Cologne, Germany.


An arrow version of the Eriksen flanker task was employed to investigate the influence of conflict on the error-related negativity (ERN). The degree of conflict was modulated by varying the distance between flankers and the target arrow (CLOSE and FAR conditions). Error rates and reaction time data from a behavioral experiment were used to adapt a connectionist model of this task. This model was based on the conflict monitoring theory and simulated behavioral and event-related potential data. The computational model predicted an increased ERN amplitude in FAR incompatible (the low-conflict condition) compared to CLOSE incompatible errors (the high-conflict condition). A subsequent ERP experiment confirmed the model predictions. The computational model explains this finding with larger post-response conflict in far trials. In addition, data and model predictions of the N2 and the LRP support the conflict interpretation of the ERN.

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