Modulatory effects of happy mood on performance monitoring: Insights from error-related brain potentials

Abstract : Goal-adaptive behavior requires the rapid detection of conflicts between actions and intentions or goals. Although many studies have focused in the past on the influence of negative affect on this cognitive control process (and more specifically, on error monitoring), little is known about the possible modulatory effects of positive affect on it. To address this question, we used a standard (positive) mood induction procedure (based on guided imagery) and asked participants to carry out a speeded go/no-go task while high-density electroencephalography was recorded concurrently. As a control condition, we used a group with neutral mood. Event-related potential results showed that the error-related negativity (ERN) component, reflecting early error detection within the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex, was not influenced by happy mood. In contrast, the subsequent error positivity (Pe) component, related to the appraisal of the motivational significance of errors, was reliably smaller in the happy than in the neutral mood group. Complementing source localization analyses showed that this effect was explained by decreased activation within the posterior cingulate and insular cortices. These results were obtained in the absence of group differences regarding behavioral performance and tonic arousal. These findings suggest that happy mood likely decreases and changes the motivational significance of worse-than-expected events (Pe), while leaving their earlier automatic detection (ERN) unaltered. We discuss these new results in terms of dynamic changes in the complex interplay of performance monitoring with motivation.
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Katharina Paul, Wioleta Walentowska, Jasmina Bakic, Thibaut Dondaine, Gilles Pourtois. Modulatory effects of happy mood on performance monitoring: Insights from error-related brain potentials. Cognitive, Affective, and Behavioral Neuroscience, Springer Verlag, 2017, 17 (1), pp.106-123. ⟨10.3758/s13415-016-0466-8⟩. ⟨hal-01485041⟩

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