Error-related brain activity and adjustments of selective attention following errors.
Maier ME., Yeung N., Steinhauser M.
The present study investigated adjustments of selective attention following errors and their relation to the error-related negativity (Ne/ERN), a correlate of errors in event-related potentials. We hypothesized that, if post-error adjustments reflect an adaptive mechanism that should prevent the occurrence of further errors, then adjustments of attentional selectivity should be observed only following errors due to insufficient selective attention. To test this, a four-choice flanker task was used in which errors due to insufficient selective attention (flanker errors) and other errors (nonflanker errors) could be distinguished. We found strong adjustments of selective attention following flanker errors but not following nonflanker errors. Moreover, the Ne/ERN amplitude was correlated with adjustments of selective attention on a trial-by-trial basis. The results provide support for the notion that the Ne/ERN is a correlate of adaptive adjustments following errors.