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Keywords:

  • Conflict monitoring;
  • Reinforcement Sensitivity Theory;
  • N2 potential;
  • Temporal PCA;
  • Promax;
  • Behavioral inhibition system

Abstract

Task- and personality-related modulations of the N2 were probed within the framework of the revised Reinforcement Sensitivity Theory (RST). Using an appetitive choice task, we investigated 58 students with extreme scores on the behavioral inhibition system and behavioral approach system (BIS/BAS) scales. The baseline-to-peak N2 amplitude was sensitive to the strength of decision conflict and demonstrated RST-related personality differences. In addition to the baseline N2 amplitude, temporal PCA results suggested two N2 components accounting for a laterality effect and capturing different N2 patterns for BIS/BAS groups with increasing conflict level. Evidence for RST-related personality differences was obtained for baseline-to-peak N2 and tPCA components in the present task. The results support the RST prediction that BAS sensitivity modulates conflict processing and confirm the cognitive–motivational conflict concept of RST.