Brigitte Stemmer, Sidney J Segalowitz, Wolfgang Witzke, and Paul W Schönle (2003)
Error detection in patients with lesions to the medial prefrontal cortex: An ERP study
When people detect their own errors in a discrimination task, a negative-going waveform can be observed in scalp-recorded EEG that has been coined the error-related negativity (Ne/ERN). Generation of the Ne/ERN has been associated with structures in the prefrontal cortex, especially the anterior cingulateregion, but also the supplementary motor cortex and subcortical structures. There is some controversy as to whether the Ne/ERN is a necessary concomitant to error detection. We examined the Ne/ERN in five patients with damage to the medial prefrontal cortex, including the anterior cingulate region. Our findings support the implication of the rostral anterior cingulate in Ne/ERN production, but they also show that subjects can be aware of errors and yet not produce an Ne/ERN. Thus, error detection leads to the Ne/ERN process and damage to the anterior cingulate region may interrupt this relay, suggesting that error detection may be supported by circuits outside the anterior cingulate region.