Skip to main content
×
Home
    • Aa
    • Aa

Neural correlates of error-related learning deficits in individuals with psychopathy

  • A. K. L. von Borries (a1) (a2), I. A. Brazil (a2) (a3), B. H. Bulten (a2), J. K. Buitelaar (a1), R. J. Verkes (a1) (a2) and E. R. A. de Bruijn (a3)...
Abstract
Background

Psychopathy (PP) is associated with a performance deficit in a variety of stimulus–response and stimulus–reinforcement learning paradigms. We tested the hypothesis that failures in error monitoring underlie these learning deficits.

Method

We measured electrophysiological correlates of error monitoring [error-related negativity (ERN)] during a probabilistic learning task in individuals with PP (n=13) and healthy matched control subjects (n=18). The task consisted of three graded learning conditions in which the amount of learning was manipulated by varying the degree to which the response was predictive of the value of the feedback (50, 80 and 100%).

Results

Behaviourally, we found impaired learning and diminished accuracy in the group of individuals with PP. Amplitudes of the response ERN (rERN) were reduced. No differences in the feedback ERN (fERN) were found.

Conclusions

The results are interpreted in terms of a deficit in initial rule learning and subsequent generalization of these rules to new stimuli. Negative feedback is adequately processed at a neural level but this information is not used to improve behaviour on subsequent trials. As learning is degraded, the process of error detection at the moment of the actual response is diminished. Therefore, the current study demonstrates that disturbed error-monitoring processes play a central role in the often reported learning deficits in individuals with PP.

Copyright
Corresponding author
*Address for correspondence: A. K. L. von Borries, M.Sc., Pompekliniek, PO Box 31435, 6503CKNijmegen, The Netherlands. (Email: k.v.borries@pompestichting.nl)
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

S Nieuwenhuis , KR Ridderinkhof , D Talsma , MGH Coles , CB Holroyd , A Kok , MW van der Molen (2002). A computational account of altered error processing in older age: dopamine and the error-related negativity. Cognitive, Affective, and Behavioral Neuroscience 2, 1936.

PE Pailing , SJ Segalowitz (2004). The effects of uncertainty in error monitoring on associated ERPs. Brain and Cognition 56, 215233.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Psychological Medicine
  • ISSN: 0033-2917
  • EISSN: 1469-8978
  • URL: /core/journals/psychological-medicine
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords: