ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

心理学报 ›› 2020, Vol. 52 ›› Issue (2): 162-172.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2020.00162

• 研究报告 • 上一篇    下一篇



  1. 1 西南大学心理学部, 认知与人格教育部重点实验室, 重庆 400715
    2 中国科学院心理研究所, 北京 100101
    3 中国科学院大学心理学系, 北京 100049
  • 收稿日期:2019-01-14 出版日期:2020-02-25 发布日期:2019-12-24
  • 通讯作者: 陈安涛
  • 基金资助:
    * 国家自然科学基金项目(61431013);国家自然科学基金项目(31771254);中央高校基本科研业务费专项资金(SWU1609106);中央高校基本科研业务费专项资金(SWU1709107);中央高校基本科研业务费专项资金(SWU1809361)

Acute stress impairs error monitoring and post-error adjustment

HU Na1,CHEN Antao1(),WANG Yanqing2,3,LI Qing1,XU Zhenzhen1,LONG Quanshan1   

  1. 1 Key Laboratory of Cognition and Personality of Ministry of Education, Faculty of Psychology, Southwest University, Chongqing 400715, China
    2 Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
    3 Department of Psychology, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • Received:2019-01-14 Online:2020-02-25 Published:2019-12-24
  • Contact: Antao CHEN


生活中, 个体会时时关注自己的行为结果并及时做出调整以适应环境的变化。但在应激下个体能否有效地监控行为并做出适应性调整依然未知。本研究招募了52名男性大学生被试, 将其随机分入应激组与控制组, 采用特里尔社会应激测试(Trier Social Stress Test, TSST)诱发个体的应激反应, 并结合错误意识任务(Error Awareness Task, EAT)探索个体急性应激下的错误监控与错误后调整过程。应激指标的结果显示应激组个体在应激任务后唾液皮质醇、心率、应激感知自我报告和负性情绪均显著高于控制组, 表明急性应激的诱发是成功的。行为结果显示应激组的错误意识正确率显著低于控制组, 错误意识反应时显著短于控制组; 进一步地, 应激组个体在意识到错误之后的试次上正确率显著低于未意识到错误之后的试次, 并且应激组个体在意识到错误之后的试次上正确率低于控制组。结果表明急性应激降低了个体对错误反应的监控水平, 即便在辨别出错误反应的情况下, 个体的行为监控与调节也更差。本研究说明急性应激会损伤行为监控系统, 导致个体的行为适应性下降。

关键词: 急性应激, 错误意识, 皮质醇, 错误后调整


Stressor presents a risk factor in everyday life by not only triggering stress responses in the body but also influencing cognitive processing. Previous research has shown that the medial frontal cortex and dorsolateral frontal cortex, on which error processing depends, are susceptible to acute stress. However, few studies have explored the effect of stress on error processing. It is still unclear whether individuals with acute stress can effectively detect their own error responses and how acute stress influences the transfer from error monitoring to post-error adjustment.

To address these issues, we recruited 52 healthy male participants and randomly assigned them into stress (n = 26) or control (n = 26) groups. The participants were first asked to undergo an acute stress test or control-stress test and soon after that perform an error awareness task. Acute stress was induced by the Trier Social Stress Test (TSST) which consists of a public speech task and a mental arithmetic task. The error awareness task was a motor go/no-go response inhibition task, in which the participants marked the responses where they recognized errors. Additionally, information on the participants’ heart rates, subjective emotional states, and perceived stress levels was collected to evaluate their immediate reaction to stress. Finally, we used salivary cortisol levels to explore the delayed reaction to stress during the experiment.

The acute stress induction was indexed by the increases in free cortisol levels, heart rates, perceived stress levels, and negative affect in the stress group compared with the control group. Two main findings were obtained in this study. First, the accuracy of error awareness in the stress group was lower than that of the control group, and the negative affect under acute stress was negatively predictive of the accuracy of error awareness in the stress group but not the control group, suggesting that acute stress led to poor error monitoring. Second, the accuracy of the first trials after aware errors was significantly lower than that after unaware errors in the stress group, but there was no change in the control group, showing that post-error performance was impaired following acute stress. Altogether, the present study demonstrated that participants could not effectively identify error responses after acute stress, and their post-error adjustment was impaired even when the error responses were identified. Our results show that stress plays an important role in error processing, which is consistent with the biphasic-reciprocal model that proposes that stress responses enhance the activation of the amygdala but impair neural functioning in the prefrontal cortex. In conclusion, the present study demonstrates that acute stress impairs the performance monitoring system, which leads to impaired post-error adaptive behaviors.

Key words: acute stress, error awareness, cortisol, post-error adjustment