ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

心理科学进展 ›› 2023, Vol. 31 ›› Issue (3): 338-349.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2023.00338

• 研究构想 • 上一篇    下一篇


杨庆(), 李亚琴   

  1. 曲阜师范大学心理学院, 山东 曲阜 273165
  • 收稿日期:2022-04-06 出版日期:2023-03-15 发布日期:2022-12-22
  • 通讯作者: 杨庆
  • 基金资助:

Is uncertainty bad? Mixed findings and explanatory model of error processing under uncertainty

YANG Qing(), LI Yaqin   

  1. School of Psychology, Qufu Normal University, Qufu 273165, China
  • Received:2022-04-06 Online:2023-03-15 Published:2022-12-22
  • Contact: YANG Qing


错误是人类决策和行为过程中在所难免的。然而, 错误常常带来不利后果甚至危及生命(如高危作业时的失误)。如何有效监控错误并优化行为对于个体生存和发展至关重要。错误的发生受到内部心理状态影响, 个体常在不确定的情境中做出判断, 不确定状态增强还是削弱错误监控, 是一个重要科学问题, 却存在矛盾结果。在前期积累和理论分析基础上, 本项目拟从人格差异角度探索不确定容忍度的调节作用。不确定容忍度的差异意味着个体对于模糊情境的耐受性和错误的敏感性不同, 因而可能调节不确定状态中的错误加工过程。研究1采用行为实验, 揭示多种不确定情境中(如奖赏/惩罚)错误监控和错误后调整的认知特点, 考察不确定容忍度的调节作用; 研究2通过考察电生理表征、时间加工进程和神经振荡机制等进一步解释这些现象。本项目对于探明不确定状态中的错误加工规律及其人格调节机制具有重要理论价值, 对于促进个体的环境适应、目标达成等具有较好现实意义。

关键词: 错误加工, 不确定, 人格, 不确定容忍度, 认知控制


Errors are inevitable in human decision-making and goal-directed behavior. However, errors can bring adverse consequences and are sometimes life-threatening (such as mistakes in high-risk operations). Effectively monitoring errors and optimizing behavior are thus critical to individual survival and development. The occurrence of errors is affected by people’s internal psychological state, when they make decisions and take actions in an uncertain state. Whether the uncertainty enhances error monitoring or not is an important scientific question. Currently, there are contradictory findings. Based on our previous work and theoretical analysis, this project proposes a new theoretical model (i.e., uncertainty-error processing integration mechanism model based on personality differences) to explain the contradictory results. Firstly, we propose that the effect of uncertainty on error processing depends on whether it enhances or weakens motivational level: When the uncertainty is highly relevant to the error processing task at hand (i.e., the error itself leads to uncertain consequence; a high relevant situation), the uncertain state may enhance error monitoring by heightening motivation. Conversely, when the uncertainty is not directly related to the consequence of the error (i.e., a low relevant situation), the uncertainty state cannot heighten or even weaken motivation and thus would not contribute to the enhancement of error monitoring. Secondly, uncertainty-related personality differences (e.g., intolerance of uncertainty) may be another important moderating mechanism, because difference in intolerance of uncertainty implies that individuals differ in their tolerance and error sensitivity to ambiguous situations, thus affecting their motivation levels and modulating error processing in uncertain states. In summary, the current project focuses on the binding situations of error consequence and uncertainty (i.e., high relevant situations) and mainly examines the moderating role of intolerance of uncertainty. Specifically, Study 1 is designed to investigate the cognitive characteristics of error monitoring and post-error adjustment (e.g., error awareness, post-error slowing) in a variety of uncertain situations (e.g., reward/punishment), examining the moderating effect of intolerance of uncertainty with a series of behavioral experiments. Study 2 would explore the underlying electrophysiological representations (e.g., error-related negativity, ERN; error positivity, Pe), time-course, and neural oscillation mechanisms (e.g., parieto-occipital alpha-band oscillations) in EEG experiments. Together, this project is conceived to provide empirical evidence of uncertainty-related personality as a modulation mechanism in error processing under uncertain situations, and offer practical implications in promoting human environmental adaptation and goal achievement. We also acknowledge that this project has not yet been able to fully reveal the specific mechanisms by which motivation affects error processing. In future designs, it is necessary to combine personality with various cognitive factors (e.g., attention, working memory) and comprehensively explore their effects on error processing under uncertainty, and then further validate and enhance the current theoretical model.

Key words: error processing, uncertainty, personality, intolerance of uncertainty, cognitive control