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The concept of error detection plays a central role in theories of executive control. In this article, the authors present a mechanism that can rapidly detect errors in speeded response time tasks. This error monitor assigns values to the output of cognitive processes involved in stimulus categorization and response generation and detects errors by identifying states of the system associated with negative value. The mechanism is formalized in a computational model based on a recent theoretical framework for understanding error processing in humans (C. B. Holroyd & M. G. H. Coles, 2002). The model is used to simulate behavioral and event-related brain potential data in a speeded response time task, and the results of the simulation are compared with empirical data.

Original publication




Journal article


J Exp Psychol Gen

Publication Date





163 - 191


Attention, Cognition, Conflict (Psychology), Discrimination (Psychology), Event-Related Potentials, P300, Female, Humans, Male, Models, Psychological, Psychological Theory, Reaction Time, Reinforcement (Psychology)