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Cogn Affect Behav Neurosci. 2012 Jun;12(2):323-36. doi: 10.3758/s13415-012-0087-9.

Feedback-related brain activity predicts learning from feedback in multiple-choice testing.

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Department of Psychology, University of Konstanz, Fach D29, 78457 Konstanz, Germany.


Different event-related potentials (ERPs) have been shown to correlate with learning from feedback in decision-making tasks and with learning in explicit memory tasks. In the present study, we investigated which ERPs predict learning from corrective feedback in a multiple-choice test, which combines elements from both paradigms. Participants worked through sets of multiple-choice items of a Swahili-German vocabulary task. Whereas the initial presentation of an item required the participants to guess the answer, corrective feedback could be used to learn the correct response. Initial analyses revealed that corrective feedback elicited components related to reinforcement learning (FRN), as well as to explicit memory processing (P300) and attention (early frontal positivity). However, only the P300 and early frontal positivity were positively correlated with successful learning from corrective feedback, whereas the FRN was even larger when learning failed. These results suggest that learning from corrective feedback crucially relies on explicit memory processing and attentional orienting to corrective feedback, rather than on reinforcement learning.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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