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Why is there an Error Negativity on correct trials? A reappraisal
  • Céline Ramdani,
  • thierry hasbroucq,
  • Franck Vidal
Céline Ramdani

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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thierry hasbroucq
Aix-Marseille-University
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Franck Vidal
Aix-Marseille Université & CNRS
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Abstract

In healthy subjects, the Error Negativity (Ne) was initially reported on errors and on partial errors,only. Later on, application of the Laplacian transformation to EEG data unmasked a Ne-like wave (Nc) that shares a main generator with the Ne, suggesting that the Nc is just a small Ne. However, the reason why a small Ne would persist on correct responses remains unclear. Now, sometimes, subthreshold EMG activations in the muscles corresponding to correct responses (not strong enough to reach the response threshold) can precede full-blown correct responses. These “partially correct” activities seem to correspond to (force) execution errors, as they evoke a sizeable Ne. Within the frames of the Reward Value and Prediction Model or of the Predicted Response-Outcome model we propose that the action monitoring system evokes a Ne/Nc on correct responses because, even when a correct choice has been made, the accuracy of response (force) execution cannot be fully predicted. If this interpretation is correct, it can be assumed that, once these execution errors have been corrected, the correctness of the (full-blown) correcting response is highly predictable. Consequently, they should evoke a smaller Nc/Ne than “pure” correct responses. We show, that for the response thresholds set in the present experiment, the correcting response of the trials containing a partially correct activation evoke no identifiable Nc at all. Therefore it seems that there usually is an error negativity on correct trials because the correctness of response (force) execution cannot be fully predicted.