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Journal Article

Disentangling performance-monitoring signals encoded in feedback-related EEG dynamics


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

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Kirsch, F., Kirschner, H., Fischer, A. G., Klein, T. A., & Ullsperger, M. (2022). Disentangling performance-monitoring signals encoded in feedback-related EEG dynamics. NeuroImage, 257: 119322. doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2022.119322.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-000A-7EC7-9
The feedback-related negativity (FRN) is a well-established electrophysiological correlate of feedback-processing. However, there is still an ongoing debate whether the FRN is driven by negative or positive reward prediction errors (RPE), valence of feedback, or mere surprise. Our study disentangles independent contributions of valence, surprise, and RPE on the feedback-related neuronal signal including the FRN and P3 components using the statistical power of a sample of N = 992 healthy individuals. The participants performed a modified time-estimation task, while EEG from 64 scalp electrodes was recorded. Our results show that valence coding is present during the FRN with larger amplitudes for negative feedback. The FRN is further modulated by surprise in a valence-dependent way being more positive-going for surprising positive outcomes. The P3 was strongly driven by both global and local surprise, with larger amplitudes for unexpected feedback and local deviants. Behavioral adaptations after feedback and FRN just show small associations. Results support the theory of the FRN as a representation of a signed RPE. Additionally, our data indicates that surprising positive feedback enhances the EEG response in the time window of the P3. These results corroborate previous findings linking the P3 to the evaluation of PEs in decision making and learning tasks.