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Keywords:

  • Feedback error-related negativity;
  • N200;
  • Oddball task;
  • Correct-related positivity;
  • Reinforcement learning;
  • Anterior cingulate cortex

Abstract

The N200 and the feedback error-related negativity (fERN) are two components of the event-related brain potential (ERP) that share similar scalp distributions, time courses, morphologies, and functional dependencies, which raises the question as to whether they are actually the same phenomenon. To investigate this issue, we recorded the ERP from participants engaged in two tasks that independently elicited the N200 and fERN. Our results indicate that they are, in fact, the same ERP component and further suggest that positive feedback elicits a positive-going deflection in the time range of the fERN. Taken together, these results indicate that negative feedback elicits a common N200 and that modulation of fERN amplitude results from the superposition on correct trials of a positive-going deflection that we term the feedback correct-related positivity.