Please wait a minute...
Acta Psychologica Sinica    2019, Vol. 51 Issue (11) : 1198-1207     DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2019.01198
Reports of Empirical Studies |
Local context dependence in feedback evaluation: An ERP study
ZHU Shuqing,ZHAI Yu,JIA Shiwei()
School of Psychology, Shandong Normal University, Jinan 250014, China
Download: PDF(1059 KB)   HTML Review File (1 KB) 
Export: BibTeX | EndNote | Reference Manager | ProCite | RefWorks     Supporting Info

Previous research has indicated that feedback evaluation depends on its embedded context, and feedback related negativity (FRN) is also context-dependent. However, it is still disputed whether feedback evaluation merely relies on the global context (the range of all possible outcomes in a block) or also on the local context (the range of possible outcomes on a given trial). Thus, the current study investigated whether the context-dependent effect could be extended from the global context to the local context. We assumed that if feedback evaluation is in a global context-dependent manner, then all non-reward feedback in a given block should elicit a related negativity; however, if feedback evaluation is in a local context-dependent manner, then a related negativity should be discovered for the relative unfavorable feedback compared to the relative favorable feedback in a given trial context.

In this study, twenty-five healthy participants (17 females; Mage = 21.96 years old) performed a cued time-estimation task while EEG was recorded. Gain (a “+” surrounded with a circle)/loss (a “-” surrounded with a circle) cues were presented trial-by-trial at the beginning of each trial to indicate the context of this trial. Participants needed to estimate one second and then received factual feedback in accordance with their performance. In the gain context, correct and incorrect responses resulted in gain (+ ¥4; gain-favorable feedback) and no-gain (¥0; gain-unfavorable feedback), separately. In the loss context, correct and incorrect responses resulted in no-loss (¥0; loss-favorable feedback) and loss (- ¥4; loss-unfavorable feedback), separately.

The behavioral results indicated that larger trial-to-trial changes in time estimation were observed after relative unfavorable feedback than relative favorable feedback. The ERP results revealed that more negative FRN occurred after relative unfavorable feedback than relative favorable feedback in both the gain and loss contexts. In addition, there was no significant difference between gain-favorable and loss-favorable feedback or between gain-unfavorable and loss-unfavorable feedback. In addition, gain-unfavorable feedback elicited a more negative FRN than loss-favorable feedback, although, in fact, both were zero-value feedback.

The above results indicate that feedback evaluation relies on the local context. Based on the previous literature, we infer that the task and facticity of feedback are key factors giving rise to the discrepancies of the results between the previous studies and the current study. In passive tasks (i.e., the participants do not need to react), the good-bad binary evaluation of FRN cannot be observed as well as the context dependence effect. In active tasks with false feedback, global context dependence is found. In active tasks with factual feedback, the context dependence extends to the local level.

Keywords feedback evaluation      feedback-related negativity      global context dependence      local context dependence     
:  B842  
Corresponding Authors: Shiwei JIA     E-mail:
Issue Date: 24 September 2019
E-mail this article
E-mail Alert
Articles by authors
Cite this article:   
ZHU Shuqing,ZHAI Yu,JIA Shiwei. Local context dependence in feedback evaluation: An ERP study[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica,2019, 51(11): 1198-1207.
URL:     OR
[1] Angus, D. J., Latham, A. J., Harmon-Jones, E., Deliano, M., Balleine, B., & Braddon-Mitchell, D . (2017). Electrocortical components of anticipation and consumption in a monetary incentive delay task. Psychophysiology, 54(11), 1686-1705.
[2] Gehring, W. J., & Willoughby, A. R . (2002). The medial frontal cortex and the rapid processing of monetary gains and losses. Science, 295(5563), 2279-2282.
[3] Hajcak, G., Holroyd, C. B., Moser, J. S., & Simons, R. F . (2005). Brain potentials associated with expected and unexpected good and bad outcomes. Psychophysiology, 42(2), 161-170.
[4] Hajcak, G., Moser J. S, Holroyd, C. B., & Simons, R. F . (2006). The feedback-related negativity reflects the binary evaluation of good versus bad outcomes. Biological Psychology, 71(2), 148-154.
[5] Heydari, S., & HolroydC, B . (2016). Reward positivity: Reward prediction error or salience prediction error?. Psychophysiology, 53(8), 1185-1192.
[6] Holroyd, C. B., & Coles, M. G. H . (2002). The neural basis of human error processing: Reinforcement learning, dopamine, and the error-related negativity. Psychological Review, 109(4), 679-709.
[7] Holroyd, C. B., Hajcak, G., & Larsen, J. T . (2006). The good, the bad and the neutral: Electrophysiological responses to feedback stimuli. Brain Research, 1105(1), 93-101.
[8] Holroyd, C. B., Larsen, J. T., & Cohen, J. D . (2004). Context dependence of the event-related brain potential associated with reward and punishment. Psychophysiology, 41(2), 245-253.
[9] Holroyd, C. B., Nieuwenhuis, S., Yeung, N., & Cohen, J. D . (2003). Errors in reward prediction are reflected in the event-related brain potential. Neuroreport, 14(18), 2481-2484.
[10] Kujawa, A., Smith, E., Luhmann, C., & Hajcak, G . (2013). The feedback negativity reflects favorable compared to nonfavorable outcomes based on global, not local, alternatives. Psychophysiology, 50(2), 134-138.
[11] Li, D., Li, P., & Li, H . (2018). The updated theories of feedback-related negativity in the last decade. Advances in Psychological Science, 26(9), 1642-1650.
[12] [ 李丹阳, 李鹏, 李红 . (2018). 反馈负波及其近10年理论解释. 心理科学进展, 26(9), 1642-1650.]
[13] Luft, C. D. B . (2014). Learning from feedback: The neural mechanisms of feedback processing facilitating better performance. Behavioural Brain Research, 261, 356-368.
[14] Mars, R. B., De Bruijn, E. R. A.., Hulstijn, W., Miltner, W. H. R Coles, M. G. H.& . (2004). What if I told you: ‘you were wrong’? Brain potentials and behavioral adjustments elicited by feedback in a time-estimation task. M. Ullsperger, M. Falkenstein (Eds.), Errors, Conflicts, and the Brain. Current Opinions on Performance Monitoring, MPI of Cognitive Neuroscience, Leipzig, 129-134.
[15] Meadows, C. C., Gable, P. A., Lohse, K. R., & Miller, M. W . (2016). The effects of reward magnitude on reward processing: An averaged and single trial event-related potential study. Biological Psychology, 118, 154-160.
[16] Miltner, W. H., Braun, C. H., & Coles, M. G . (1997). Event-related brain potentials following incorrect feedback in a time-estimation task: Evidence for a “generic” neural system for error detection. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 9(6), 788-798.
[17] Mulligan, E. M., & Hajcak, G. .(2018). The electrocortical response to rewarding and aversive feedback: The reward positivity does not reflect salience in simple gambling tasks. International Journal of Psychophysiology, 132, 262-267.
[18] Nieuwenhuis, S., Heslenfeld, D. J., von Geusau, N. J. A.., Mars, R. B., Holroyd, C. B., & Yeung, N . (2005). Activity in human reward-sensitive brain areas is strongly context dependent. Neuroimage, 25(4), 1302-1309.
[19] Nieuwenhuis, S., Yeung, N., Holroyd, C. B., Schurger, A., & Cohen, J. D . (2004). Sensitivity of electrophysiological activity from medial frontal cortex to utilitarian and performance feedback. Cerebral Cortex, 14(7), 741-747.
[20] Oldfield, R. C . (1971). The assessment and analysis of handedness: The Edinburgh inventory. Neuropsychologia, 9(1), 97-113.
[21] Osinsky, R., Mussel, P., & Hewig, J . (2012). Feedback-related potentials are sensitive to sequential order of decision outcomes in a gambling task. Psychophysiology, 49(12), 1579-1589
[22] Osinsky, R., Walter, H., & Hewig, J . (2014). What is and what could have been: An ERP study on counterfactual comparisons. Psychophysiology, 51(8), 773-781.
[23] Pfabigan, D. M., Alexopoulos, J., Bauer, H., & Sailer, U . (2011). Manipulation of feedback expectancy and valence induces negative and positive reward prediction error signals manifest in event-related brain potentials. Psychophysiology, 48(5), 656-664.
[24] Pfabigan, D. M., Seidel, E. M., Paul, K., Grahl, A., Sailer, U Lanzenberger, R.… Lamm, C. (2015). Context-sensitivity of the feedback-related negativity for zero-value feedback outcomes. Biological Psychology, 104, 184-192.
[25] Proudfit, G. H . (2015). The reward positivity: From basic research on reward to a biomarker for depression. Psychophysiology, 52(4), 449-459.
[26] Sambrook, T. D., & Goslin, J. ,(2015). A neural reward prediction error revealed by a meta-analysis of ERPs using great grand averages. Psychological Bulletin, 141(1), 213-235.
[27] Soder, H. E., & Potts, G. F . (2018). Medial frontal cortex response to unexpected motivationally salient outcomes. International Journal of Psychophysiology, 132, 268-276.
[28] Talmi, D., Atkinson, R., & El-deredy, W . (2013). The feedback-related negativity signals salience prediction errors, not reward prediction errors . Journal of Neuroscience, 33(19), 8264-8269.
[29] Ullsperger, M., Danielmeier, C., & Jocham, G . (2014). Neurophysiology of performance monitoring and adaptive behavior. Physiological Reviews, 94(1), 35-79.
[30] Walsh, M. M.,& Anderson, J. R . (2012). Learning from experience: Event-related potential correlates of reward processing, neural adaptation, and behavioral choice. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 36(8), 1870-1884.
[31] Wang, L. J., Tang, D. D., Zhao, Y. F., Hitchman, G., Wu, S. S., Tan, J. F., & Chen, A. T . (2015). Disentangling the impacts of outcome valence and outcome frequency on the post-error slowing. Scientific Reports, 5, 8708.
[32] Xiang, L., Wang, B. X., & Zhang, Q. L . (2012). Performance monitoring and behavioral adjustments in a time- estimation task: Evidence from ERP study. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 44(9), 1149-1159.
[33] [ 向玲, 王宝玺, 张庆林 . (2012). 时间估计任务中的反馈加工和行为调节: 来自ERP的证据. 心理学报, 44(9), 1149-1159.]
[34] Xiang, L., Wang, B. X., Zhang, Q. L., & Yuan, H . (2008). The effect of reference point of the feedback-related ERPs. Advances in Psychological Science, 40(12), 1240-1249.
[35] [ 向玲, 王宝玺, 张庆林, 袁宏 . (2008). 反馈相关ERP成分的参照点效应. 心理学报, 40( 12), 1240-1249.]
[36] Yeung, N., & Sanfey, A. G . (2004). Independent coding of reward magnitude and valence in the human brain. Journal of Neuroscience, 24(28), 6258-6264.
[1] ZHU Xiangru; ZHANG Yan; YANG Suyong; WU Haiyan; WANG Lili; GU Ruolei. The Motivational Hierarchy between Self and Mother: Evidence from the Feedback-related Negativity[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2015, 47(6): 807-813.
Full text



Copyright © Acta Psychologica Sinica
Support by Beijing Magtech