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Keywords:

  • Event-related potential (ERP);
  • Error-related negativity (ERN);
  • Error negativity (Ne);
  • Impulsivity;
  • Individual differences;
  • Response control

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.