The Error-Related Negativity as a Neural Indicator of Error Processing and its Modulation by Individual Differences
Authors: Justyna Mojsa-Kaja ab, Magda Gawlowska b, Ewa Beldzik ab, Aleksandra Domagalik ab, Tadeusz Marek ab
Abstract: The error-related negativity (ERN) is a negative deflection in the event-related potential that is maximal approximately 50 ms after the commission of an error. The ERN is generated in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), a region implicated in both cognitive and emotional processing. Despite a growing body of research concerning the ERN, discussion regarding its functional significance remains open. The conflict and reinforcement-learning theories point at specific, ACC-related processes, involved in generation of the ERN and describe the process of error monitoring itself in human brain. Above mentioned theories explain what happens on neuronal level when individual commits an error, but they do not emphasize the crucial role of individual differences in modulating the ERN magnitude. On the other hand, there is a dynamically growing area of research suggesting that ERN is heritable, stable over time and linked with several dimensions of personality, that may interact with motivational, contextual factors and moderate the magnitude of the ERN. This approach defines ERN as a neural marker of a neurobehavioral trait and variation in its amplitude is linked with individual differences having impact on emotional or motivational aspects of error processing. Therefore, we would focus on selective literature review concerning ERN in the light of motivational factors and individual differences and present implications and future research directions in this area.
Keywords: Error-Related Negativity, ERN, Anterior Cingulate Cortex, ACC, Individual Differences, Error Processing
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