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Journal Article

Cortical beta power reflects decision dynamics and uncovers multiple facets of post-error adaptation


Klein,  Tilmann A.
Institute of Psychology, Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg, Germany;
Department Neurology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Fischer, A. G., Nigbur, R., Klein, T. A., Danielmeier, C., & Ullsperger, M. (2018). Cortical beta power reflects decision dynamics and uncovers multiple facets of post-error adaptation. Nature Communications, 9: 5038. doi:10.1038/s41467-018-07456-8.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0002-A14F-0
Adapting to errors quickly is essential for survival. Reaction slowing after errors is commonly observed but whether this slowing is adaptive or maladaptive is unclear. Here, we analyse a large dataset from a flanker task using two complementary approaches: a multistage drift-diffusion model, and the lateralisation of EEG beta power as a time-resolved index of choice formation. Fitted model parameters and their independently measured neuronal proxies in beta power convergently show a complex interplay of multiple mechanisms initiated after mistakes. Suppression of distracting evidence, response threshold increase, and reduction of evidence accumulation cause slow and accurate post-error responses. This data provides evidence for both adaptive control and maladaptive orienting after errors yielding an adaptive net effect – a decreased likelihood to repeat mistakes. Generally, lateralised beta power provides a non-invasive readout of action selection for the study of speeded cognitive control processes.