Error-related negativity (ERN) is a negative deflection in the event-related potential elicited in error trials. To examine the function of ERN, we performed an experiment in which two within-participants factors were manipulated: outcome uncertainty and content of feedback. The ERN was largest when participants expected correct feedback but received error feedback. There were significant positive correlations between the ERN amplitude and the rate of response switching in the subsequent trial, and between the ERN amplitude and the trait version score on negative affect scale. These results suggest that ERN reflects detection of a negative reward prediction error and promotes subsequent response switching, and that individuals with high negative affect are hypersensitive to a negative reward prediction error.
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