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Keywords:

  • Weber–Fechner Law;
  • Stevens' Law;
  • EEG oscillations;
  • theta;
  • ACC;
  • rule violation

Abstract

Human brain theta rhythm has been related to the operation of a generic mechanism involved in error detection processes of different types (e.g., detecting incorrect motor responses or incorrect arithmetic equations). This theta activity seems to be sensitive to error salience or magnitude, that is, stronger theta activity is found with larger or more deviant errors (e.g., 1+2=8) than with smaller or less deviant ones (e.g., 1+2=4). A time-frequency decomposition analysis indicated that theta activity is modulated by the magnitude of erroneous information in a nonlinear fashion, which can be characterized using Weber–Fechner's law of logarithmic function and Stevens' law of power function. The present study suggests that the generic mechanisms for error detection and evaluation may share similar fundamental neural schemes with primary cognitive and sensory or perceptual processes, which are directly involved in processing the specific type of input.