Electrophysiological correlates of error initiation and response correction

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Adaptive, goal-directed behavior requires the ability to monitor the perception-action cycle, detect errors, and make adjustments to restore volitional action. One limiting factor in gaining a clearer understanding of the functional significance of the neural correlates of error detection has been the predominant use of discrete responses (e.g., a button press) as measures of behavior that do not easily afford an assessment of online error correction. This limitation was addressed in the current study by examining the neural correlates of error initiation and correction with respect to dynamic cursor movements that permitted measurement of the initiation and correction of errant responses within individual trials. Results indicate that the ERN may reflect a general error alarm following the initiation of an error but that the Pe component may be more closely related to the initiation of corrective action. The data also reveal that the amplitude and latency of frontal midline Theta oscillations may be more closely related to corrective action, suggesting that error detection and corrective action are mediated by an overlapping neural network.