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Science. 2003 Oct 3;302(5642):120-2.

Performance monitoring by the anterior cingulate cortex during saccade countermanding.

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Center for Integrative and Cognitive Neuroscience, Vanderbilt Vision Research Center, Department of Psychology, Wilson Hall, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN 37203, USA.


Consensus is emerging that the medial frontal lobe of the brain is involved in monitoring performance, but precisely what is monitored remains unclear. A saccade-countermanding task affords an experimental dissociation of neural signals of error, reinforcement, and conflict. Single-unit activity was monitored in the anterior cingulate cortex of monkeys performing this task. Neurons that signaled errors were found, half of which responded to the omission of earned reinforcement. A further diversity of neurons signaled earned or unexpected reinforcement. No neurons signaled the form of conflict engendered by interruption of saccade preparation produced in this task. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that the anterior cingulate cortex monitors the consequences of actions.

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