Transient and sustained ERP activity related to feedback processing in the probabilistic selection task.

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Feedback processing represents a fundamental component of adaptive decision-making. Extensive research using event-related brain potentials (ERPs) has explored the medial frontal feedback negativity (FN), P3a, and P3b components in the context of feedback processing. Additionally, recent studies examining the neural correlates of feedback processing in a gambling task revealed transient and sustained ERP activity over the lateral frontal and posterior regions of the scalp. Consistent with the neuroimaging literature, source analysis has localized this ERP activity to the lateral and medial frontal cortex, as well as the temporal-occipital and medial occipital cortices. The current experiments examine whether the pattern of transient medial frontal and sustained lateral frontal and posterior ERP activity extend to a reinforcement learning task, and may thereby represent a general property of feedback processing. Consistent with a large literature, the ERP data revealed the FN-P3a and P3b. In addition, these data revealed sustained ERP activity over the lateral frontal and posterior regions. These findings contribute to our understanding of the temporal dynamics of feedback processing across broadly distributed cortical and subcortical networks that are sensitive to the valence and probability of positive and negative outcomes.