20/06/2013 Biology Medicine Psychology
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0066350 SemanticScholar ID: 17396419 MAG: 2160388503

Relative Changes from Prior Reward Contingencies Can Constrain Brain Correlates of Outcome Monitoring

Publication Summary

It is well-known that the affective value of an environment can be relative to whether it reflects an improvement or a worsening from a previous state. A potential explanation for this phenomenon suggests that relative changes from previous reward contingencies can constrain how brain monitoring systems form predictions about future events. In support of this idea, we found that changes per se relative to previous states of learned reward contingencies modulated the Feedback-Related Negativity (FRN), a human brain potential known to index discrepancies between predictions and affective outcomes. Specifically, we observed that environments with a 50% reward probability yielded different FRN patterns according to whether they reflected an improvement or a worsening from a previous environment. Further, we also found that this pattern of results was driven mainly by variations in the amplitude of ERPs to positive outcomes. Overall, these results suggest that relative changes in reward probability from previous learned environments can constrain how neural systems of outcome monitoring formulate predictions about the likelihood of future rewards and nonrewards.

CAER Authors

Avatar Image for Faisal Mushtaq

Dr. Faisal Mushtaq

University of Leeds - Associate Professor in Cognitive Neuroscience

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