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This ought to be good: Brain activity accompanying positive and negative expectations and outcomes


The current study employed a modified gambling task, in which probabilistic cues were provided to elicit positive or negative expectations. Event-related potentials (ERPs) to ‘‘final outcome’’ and ‘‘probabilistic cues’’ were analyzed. Difference waves between the negative condition and the corresponding positive condition were examined. The results confirm that feedback related negativity (FRN) amplitude is modulated by the interaction of outcome valence and expectancy by showing larger FRN difference waves for unexpected than expected outcomes. More interestingly, the difference wave between ERPs elicited by positive and negative expectations showed a negative deflection, with a frontal midline source density around 280 ms after onset of the predictive cue. Negative expectations were associated with larger FRN amplitudes than positive expectations. This suggests that FRN is elicited by probabilistic cues to pending outcomes.

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