Electrocortical components of anticipation and consumption in a monetary incentive delay task

Douglas J Angus, Andrew J Latham, Eddie Harmon-Jones, Matthias Deliano, Bernard Balleine, David Braddon-Mitchell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)
45 Downloads (Pure)


In order to improve our understanding of the components that reflect functionally important processes during reward anticipation and consumption, we used principle components analyses (PCA) to separate and quantify averaged ERP data obtained from each stage of a modified monetary incentive delay (MID) task. Although a small number of recent ERP studies have reported that reward and loss cues potentiate ERPs during anticipation, action preparation, and consummatory stages of reward processing, these findings are inconsistent due to temporal and spatial overlap between the relevant electrophysiological components. Our results show three components following cue presentation are sensitive to incentive cues (N1, P3a, P3b). In contrast to previous research, reward-related enhancement occurred only in the P3b, with earlier components more sensitive to break-even and loss cues. During feedback anticipation, we observed a lateralized centroparietal negativity that was sensitive to response hand but not cue type. We also show that use of PCA on ERPs reflecting reward consumption successfully separates the reward positivity from the independently modulated feedback-P3. Last, we observe for the first time a new reward consumption component: a late negativity distributed over the left frontal pole. This component appears to be sensitive to response hand, especially in the context of monetary gain. These results illustrate that the time course and sensitivities of electrophysiological activity that follows incentive cues do not follow a simple heuristic in which reward incentive cues produce enhanced activity at all stages and substages.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1686-1705
Number of pages20
Issue number11
Early online date4 Jul 2017
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2017
Externally publishedYes


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