Sensation seeking and error processing


  • This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (81171412). The authors thank the editor Dr. Robert Simons and two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments on previous drafts of this manuscript.


Sensation seeking is defined by a strong need for varied, novel, complex, and intense stimulation, and a willingness to take risks for such experience. Several theories propose that the insensitivity to negative consequences incurred by risks is one of the hallmarks of sensation-seeking behaviors. In this study, we investigated the time course of error processing in sensation seeking by recording event-related potentials (ERPs) while high and low sensation seekers performed an Eriksen flanker task. Whereas there were no group differences in ERPs to correct trials, sensation seeking was associated with a blunted error-related negativity (ERN), which was female-specific. Further, different subdimensions of sensation seeking were related to ERN amplitude differently. These findings indicate that the relationship between sensation seeking and error processing is sex-specific.