Objective: Humans need to supervise and adjust their own behavior by means of an error detection and correction system as well as by using externally available information. The purpose of the present study was to compare the electrophysiological effects related to self-generated internal and to external (feedback) information used for performance monitoring. Methods: Fourteen young normal subjects learned to associate each of several line-drawings with either a left-hand or right-hand response. In the experiment proper multi-channel ERPs were obtained time-locked to (a) the line-drawings, (b) the button-press, and (c) subsequent feedback stimuli. Feedback was either affirmative, negative, or equivocal. Event-related potentials were quantified and statistically evaluated using standard methodology. Results: Response-locked ERPs showed a typical error-related negativity (ERN) for erroneous responses. ERPs to negative and equivocal feedback stimuli contained a negativity with a more posterior distribution than that of the ERN, which occurred earlier and had a higher peak amplitude in the equivocal condition. Dipole modeling suggests that this feedback-related negativity is generated by medial prefrontal and posterior cingulate cortex areas. Conclusions: Different brain systems support the use of internal and external information necessary for performance monitoring and modification. Significance: The flexible use of internal and external information for performance control is a core executive function. The delineation of the corresponding brain correlates will further our understanding of executive dysfunction in neurological disorders.
Research Areas and Centers
- Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)