ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

Acta Psychologica Sinica ›› 2022, Vol. 54 ›› Issue (3): 248-258.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2022.00248

• Reports of Empirical Studies • Previous Articles     Next Articles

The effect of working memory load on feedback processing: Evidence from an event-related potentials (ERP) study

JIA Shiwei, QI Congcong, CHEN Lele, REN Yanju()   

  1. School of Psychology, Shandong Normal University, Jinan 250358, China
  • Received:2021-04-19 Published:2022-03-25 Online:2022-01-25
  • Contact: REN Yanju
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China(31200784)


Processing of post behavioral feedback is of great significance in learning and environmental adaptation. However, it is unclear how working memory load (WM load) affects feedback processing. Using dual-task paradigm, three conditions of baseline, low WM load, and high WM load were set, and ERP technology was used to explore this issue. It was found that RewP (reward positivity) was sensitive to valence, but was not affected by WM load conditions; the difference waves between positive and negative feedback of theta oscillation were smaller under high WM load condition than under low WM load. The results support the view of hierarchical reinforcement learning theory of anterior cingulate cortex (HRL-ACC) on RewP and theta oscillation: RewP reflects feedback valence evaluation function, theta oscillation reflects cognitive control function, and WM load selectively affects ACC's cognitive control function but not the feedback valence evaluation function.

Key words: working memory load (WM load), feedback, reward positivity (RewP), theta oscillation, anterior cingulate cortex