Diane L Santesso and Sidney J Segalowitz (2009)
The error-related negativity is related to risk-taking and empathy in young men
We related self-report measures of risk taking and empathy to the error-related negativity (ERN) elicited during a flanker task in boys in late adolescence. We found that risk propensity (risk taking, sensation seeking, and sensitivity to reward) and empathy related to ERN amplitude (negatively and positively, respectively) but not to each other or to behavioral measures of response time, accuracy, and post-error slowing. They accounted for separate sources of variance in the ERN amplitude, suggesting that there are multiple routes to activation of its generator in the anterior cingulate. Impulsivity and sensitivity to punishment were unrelated to the ERN. The present study provides support that risk-taking traits and empathy affect anterior cingulate responsiveness to errors, and the ERN reflects the influence of the extent of individuals' concern with the outcome of events.