Article

Conscious perception of errors and its relation to the anterior insula

Max Planck Institute for Neurological Research, Gleueler Str. 50, 50931, Cologne, Germany.
Brain Structure and Function (Impact Factor: 4.57). 06/2010; 214(5-6):629-43. DOI: 10.1007/s00429-010-0261-1
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT To detect erroneous action outcomes is necessary for flexible adjustments and therefore a prerequisite of adaptive, goal-directed behavior. While performance monitoring has been studied intensively over two decades and a vast amount of knowledge on its functional neuroanatomy has been gathered, much less is known about conscious error perception, often referred to as error awareness. Here, we review and discuss the conditions under which error awareness occurs, its neural correlates and underlying functional neuroanatomy. We focus specifically on the anterior insula, which has been shown to be (a) reliably activated during performance monitoring and (b) modulated by error awareness. Anterior insular activity appears to be closely related to autonomic responses associated with consciously perceived errors, although the causality and directions of these relationships still needs to be unraveled. We discuss the role of the anterior insula in generating versus perceiving autonomic responses and as a key player in balancing effortful task-related and resting-state activity. We suggest that errors elicit reactions highly reminiscent of an orienting response and may thus induce the autonomic arousal needed to recruit the required mental and physical resources. We discuss the role of norepinephrine activity in eliciting sufficiently strong central and autonomic nervous responses enabling the necessary adaptation as well as conscious error perception.

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    • "Particularly, PES is reflected by longer RTs on trials following an error than on trials following a correct response (Rabbitt, 1966). PES has been noticed in a broad range of tasks (Danielmeier & Ullsperger, 2011), comprising the flanker task (Krämer et al., 2007; Debener et al., 2005), the Stroop task (Gehring & Fencsik, 2001), and the Simon task (Danielmeier, Eichele, Forstmann, Tittgemeyer, & Ullsperger, 2011; King, Korb, Von Cramon, & Ullsperger, 2010). PES has been proposed to reflect distinct mechanisms, depending on the duration of the RSI ( Jentzsch & Dudschig, 2009; see also Laming, 1979). "
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    ABSTRACT: People tend to slow down after they commit an error, a phenomenon known as post-error slowing (PES). It has been proposed that slowing after negative feedback or unforeseen errors is linked to the activity of the locus coeruleus-norepinephrine (LC-NE) system, but there is little direct evidence for this hypothesis. Here, we assessed the causal role of the noradrenergic system in modulating PES by applying transcutaneous vagus nerve stimulation (tVNS), a new noninvasive and safe method to stimulate the vagus nerve and to increase NE concentrations in the brain. A single-blind, sham-controlled, between-group design was used to assess the effect of tVNS in healthy young volunteers ( n = 40) during two cognitive tasks designed to measure PES. Results showed increased PES during active tVNS, as compared to sham stimulation. This effect was of similar magnitude for the two tasks. These findings provide evidence for an important role of the noradrenergic system in PES.
    Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 07/2015; DOI:10.1162/jocn_a_00851 · 4.69 Impact Factor
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    • "Uncertainty monitoring, whether related to response-conflict, risk, or anticipated errors, correlates with some or all of a group of regions that include medial PFC, posterior parietal, ACC, PCC, and anterior insula (e.g., Botvinick, Cohen & Carter, 2004; Carter et al., 1998; Fleck et al., 2006; Grinband et al., 2006; Huettel, et al., 2005; Kable & Glimcher 2007; MacDonald et al., 2000; McCoy & Platt, 2005; Platt & Huettel, 2008; Ridderinkhof et al., 2004; Stern et al., 2010; Ullsperger et al. 2010; Volz et al., 2004). ACC is in the position to relay this uncertainty information via its strong connections with dorsal and lateral PFC, regions that have been documented to bring about behavioral adjustment or exert top-down control and that overlap with our results (Cohen et al., 1997; Fleck et al., 2006; Huettel et al., 2005; MacDonald et al., 2000; Miller & Cohen, 2001; Miller, et al., 2002; Nee, Wager & Jonides, 2007; Ridderinkhof et al., 2004; Volz et al., 2004). "
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    Cortex 07/2015; 71. DOI:10.1016/j.cortex.2015.07.028 · 6.04 Impact Factor
    • "Pe amplitudes have been interpreted to reflect elaborative error-processing which may include evaluating the motivational significance of an error (Ullsperger, et al., 2010), or potential affective reactions to an error (Overbeek, et al., 2005). Here, increased Pe amplitude is likely related to increased processing of the response error. "
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