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Patricia E Pailing, Sidney J Segalowitz, Jane Dywan, and Patricia L Davies (2002)

Error negativity (Ne/ERN) and response control

Psychophysiology, 39(2):198-206.

Error trials are associated with faster responses than correct trials in simple discrimination tasks suggesting that errors result from impulsive responding. We investigated the relationship between error negativity (Ne/ERN), an event-related potential associated with error detection, and two behavioral indices of response control: response time (RT) differences between incorrect and correct trials (an index of impulsivity) and percentage of errors. Response-locked ERPs were collected from 17 young adults during a visual flanker task. Consistent with previous findings, participants were significantly faster on error trials. However, participants who exhibited larger Ne/ERN peak amplitudes had significantly smaller RT differences, suggesting a more controlled response strategy. Furthermore, Ne/ERN latencies were positively associated with percentage of errors. These findings are consistent with the view that the Ne/ERN reflects the activity of a monitoring system that is closely linked to remedial systems responsible for individual differences in response control or impulsive behavior.


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