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Keywords:

  • Error processing;
  • ERN;
  • ERP;
  • Forward model;
  • Reinforcement learning

Abstract

We have recently provided evidence that an error-related negativity (ERN), an ERP component generated within medial-frontal cortex, is elicited by errors made during the performance of a continuous tracking task (O.E. Krigolson & C.B. Holroyd, 2006). In the present study we conducted two experiments to investigate the ability of the medial-frontal error system to evaluate predictive error information. In two experiments participants used a joystick to perform a computer-based continuous tracking task in which some tracking errors were inevitable. In both experiments, half of these errors were preceded by a predictive cue. The results of both experiments indicated that an ERN-like waveform was elicited by tracking errors. Furthermore, in both experiments the predicted error waveforms had an earlier peak latency than the unpredicted error waveforms. These results demonstrate that the medial-frontal error system can evaluate predictive error information.