Noradrenergic stimulation enhances human action monitoring

Jordi Riba*, Antoni Rodriguez-Fornells, Adelaida Morte, Thomas F. Münte, Manel J. Barbanoj

*Corresponding author for this work
70 Citations (Scopus)


Noradrenergic neurotransmission has been associated with the modulation of higher cognitive functions mediated by the prefrontal cortex. In the present study, the impact of noradrenergic stimulation on the human action-monitoring system, as indexed by event-related brain potentials, was examined. After the administration of a placebo or the selective α2-adrenoceptor antagonist yohimbine, which stimulates firing in the locus ceruleus and noradrenaline release, electroencephalograpic recordings were obtained from healthy volunteers performing a letter flanker task. Yohimbine led to an increase in the amplitude of the error-related negativity in conjunction with a significant reduction of action errors. Reaction times were unchanged, and the drug did not modify the N2 in congruent versus incongruent trials, a measure of preresponse conflict, or posterror adjustments as measured by posterror slowing of reaction time. The present findings suggest that the locus ceruleus-noradrenaline system exerts a rather specific effect on human action monitoring.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number17
Pages (from-to)4370-4374
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - 27.04.2005

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)


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