Emotional modulation of performance monitoring

To learn from errors and to optimize behavior in a fast and efficient way, it is critical to monitor ongoing performance and compare it with internal representations. Experiments using event-related brain potentials showed that performance errors are accompanied by an increased negative component (ERN, = Error Related Negativity) that starts around the time of error commission and peaks as early as 80 ms after the error.

There is evidence that the performance monitoring system, which generates the ERN, is influenced by emotional and motivational aspects. In line with this, it has been shown that the ERN amplitude is increased in subjects with Depression and in subjects with Obsessive compulsive disorder. However, how short-term affective state changes might interact with ERN amplitude is less clear. Here, I present a series of experiments showing that the ERN adapts according to the current emotional state. Different emotion induction procedures are introduced during a task that requires performance monitoring. In short, it can be summarized that positive affect decreases, whereas induced negative affect increases activity of the performance monitoring system. Possible brain mechanisms responsible for emotional modulation of the ERN are suggested, behavioral consequences are discussed.



Dr. Daniel Wiswede
Abteilung für Psychosomatische Medizin und Psychotherapie
Universität Ulm


Mittwoch, 22. Juli 2009, 16 Uhr


Universität Ulm, Oberer Eselsberg, O28, Raum 2203