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Keywords:

  • EEG/ERP<Measures Used;
  • Cognition<Content;
  • Normal Volunteers<Groups Studied

Abstract

Error commission evokes changes in event-related potentials, autonomic nervous system activity, and behavior, presumably reflecting the operation of a cognitive control network. Here we test the hypothesis that errors lead to increased cortical arousal, measurable as changes in electroencephalogram (EEG) alpha band power. Participants performed a Stroop task while EEG was recorded. Following correct responses, alpha power increased and then decreased in a quadratic pattern, implying transient mental disengagement during the intertrial interval. This trend was absent following errors, which elicited significantly less alpha power than correct trials. Moreover, post-error alpha power was a better predictor of individual differences in post-error slowing than the error-related negativity (ERN), whereas the ERN was a better predictor of post-error accuracy than alpha power. These findings imply that changes in cortical arousal play a unique role in modulating post-error behavior.