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Cortical beta power reflects decision dynamics and uncovers multiple facets of post-error adaptation

Fischer, Adrian G.; Nigbur, Roland; Klein, Tilmann A.; Danielmeier, Claudia; Ullsperger, Markus


Adrian G. Fischer

Roland Nigbur

Tilmann A. Klein

Markus Ullsperger


© 2018, The Author(s). Adapting to errors quickly is essential for survival. Reactionslowing after errors is commonly observed but whether this slowing is adaptive or maladaptive is unclear. Here, we analyse a large dataset from a flanker task using two complementary approaches: a multistage drift-diffusion model, and the lateralisation of EEG beta power as a time-resolved index of choice formation. Fitted model parameters and their independently measured neuronal proxies in beta power convergently show a complex interplay of multiple mechanisms initiated after mistakes. Suppression of distracting evidence, response threshold increase, and reduction of evidence accumulation cause slow and accurate post-error responses. This data provides evidence for both adaptive control and maladaptive orienting after errors yielding an adaptive net effect – a decreased likelihood to repeat mistakes. Generally, lateralised beta power provides a non-invasive readout of action selection for the study of speeded cognitive control processes.


Fischer, A. G., Nigbur, R., Klein, T. A., Danielmeier, C., & Ullsperger, M. (2018). Cortical beta power reflects decision dynamics and uncovers multiple facets of post-error adaptation. Nature Communications, 9,

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 29, 2018
Online Publication Date Nov 28, 2018
Publication Date Dec 1, 2018
Deposit Date Nov 28, 2018
Publicly Available Date Nov 28, 2018
Journal Nature Communications
Electronic ISSN 2041-1723
Publisher Nature Publishing Group
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 9
Article Number 5038
Public URL
Publisher URL


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