Voluntary modulation of anterior cingulate response to negative feedback

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? 2014 Shane, Weywadt.Anterior cingulate and medial frontal cortex (dACC/mFC) response to negative feedback represents the actions of a generalized error-monitoring system critical for the management of goal-directed behavior. Magnitude of dACC/mFC response to negative feedback correlates with levels of post-feedback behavioral change, and with proficiency of operant learning processes. With this in mind, it follows that an ability to alter dACC/mFC response to negative feedback may lead to representative changes in operant learning proficiency. To this end, the present study investigated the extent to which healthy individuals would show modulation of their dACC/mFC response when instructed to try to either maximize or minimize their neural response to the presentation of contingent negative feedback. Participants performed multiple runs of a standard time-estimation task, during which they received feedback regarding their ability to accurately estimate a one-second duration. On Watch runs, participants were simply instructed to try to estimate as closely as possible the one second duration. On Increase and Decrease runs, participants performed the same task, but were instructed to "try to increase [decrease] their brain's response every time they received negative feedback". Results indicated that participants showed changes in dACC/mFC response under these differing instructional conditions: dACC/mFC activity following negative feedback was higher in the Increase condition, and dACC activity trended lower in the Decrease condition, compared to the Watch condition. Moreover, dACC activity correlated with post-feedback performance adjustments, and these adjustments were highest in the Increase condition. Potential implications for neuromodulation and facilitated learning are discussed.




Shane, M. S., & Weywadt, C. R. (2014). Voluntary modulation of anterior cingulate response to negative feedback. PLoS ONE, 9(11). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0107322

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