The effects of induced state negative affect on performance monitoring processes

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Previous research suggests that performance-monitoring processes are related to personality traits; relationships with affective states, however, remain unclear. The purpose of this study was to replicate and extend previous findings that induced state negative affect alters electrophysiological reflections of performance monitoring. High-density event-related potentials (ERPs) were obtained from 69 healthy individuals (41 female, 28 male) who completed an Eriksen flanker task and received either encouraging or derogatory feedback based on mean reaction times (RTs) for 30-trial sub-blocks. Affective state, behavioral measures (i.e. error rates, RTs) and ERP measures [i.e. error-related negativity (ERN), post-error positivity (Pe) and N2] were assessed. Reaction times did not differ between feedback groups. Participants who received derogatory feedback committed more errors over time. Despite changes in affect, no significant group differences were demonstrated for behavioral or ERP measures of performance monitoring. Increases in vigilance were associated with more negative N2 amplitudes; no other changes in affective state were associated with changes in ERP measures. Results are consistent with findings suggesting performance-monitoring processes are only slightly affected by changes in affective state and fail to replicate previous studies suggesting the ERN is related to state changes in affect—supporting the possibility of the ERN as an endophenotype.

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