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Keywords:

  • Knowledge of results;
  • Movement-preceding negativity;
  • Postmovement negativity;
  • Stimulus-preceding negativity;
  • Affective anticipation;
  • Cognitive anticipation

Abstract

Movement-preceding and stimulus-preceding negativities were recorded when a movement was followed by one of three informative visual stimuli. The meaning of the visual stimulus alternated between (a) conveying a task-relevant instruction about a subsequent time production task and (b) providing feedback (knowledge of results) about performance on the current time production task. In a control condition, premovement and postmovement scalp potentials were recorded when subjects made the same movements but in a voluntary, self-paced manner. Under all conditions, movements were preceded by a movement-preceding negativity, and neither the amplitude nor the lateral asymmetry of this negativity was affected by the subsequent presentation of either kind of informative stimulus. When the movement was followed by a stimulus conveying knowledge of results, the negativity in the postmovement epoch was enhanced, but this enhancement was not evident in epochs preceding instruction stimuli. We conclude that not all task relevant stimuli elicit a stimulus-preceding negativity, and we provide a functional interpretation of this negativity in terms of emotional anticipation and the contingency of the stimulus on a previous event.