Theories have proposed that both the stimulus-preceding negativity (SPN) and the medial frontal negativity (MFN) reflect affective/motivational processing. We examined the effect of the motivational impact of feedback stimuli on these ERPs using a simple gambling task, focusing on the influence of prior losses and gains on ERPs and choice behavior. Choices were riskier following large losses than following small losses or large gains. The MFN, however, was larger following larger gains. The SPN preceding the outcome was also larger after a greater gain. Thus, we confirmed that both the MFN and the SPN respond to the motivational properties of the feedback. A dissociation between risk-taking behavior and these ERPs suggests that there could be two monitoring systems: one that leads to riskier responses following losses and a second that leads to heightened expectancy.
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