Testing the Bottleneck Account for Post-Error Slowing Beyond the Post-Error Response

In our recent paper, Testing the Bottleneck Account for Post-Error Slowing Beyond the Post-Error Response, soon to be published in Biological Psychology1, we examined whether post-error slowing (PES) can be explained as resulting from depleted cognitive resources caused by the detection of an error.

By following performance, both behaviorally and electrophysiologically using event-related potential (ERPs), we found that the post-error effects usually measured on the N+1th trial were also apparent, on the N+2 through to the N+4th trials, diminishing in magnitude, until being undetectable on the N+5th trial.

This trend in the decay of post-error effects was found on PES, visual N1 amplitude and P3 amplitude, though the effect on the P3 component rapidly diminished (was non-evident by trial N+2), whereas the differences in the N1 component were still evident in the N+4th trial following the erroneous response.

The results lay further support to the bottleneck account for post-error slowing and show a combination of early attentional and higher-order processing changes that occur after erroneous responses.

These results provide additional support for the bottleneck account for PES. The effects on both N1 and P3 suggest that both low- and high-order processes are triggered by the commission of an error. This is consistent with claims that the best explanation for PES can be achieved with a combination of early attentional and higher-order processing changes that occur after erroneous responses.


  1. Free access link (until October 18, 2018)↩︎

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