Implementing a novel ERP version of the EEfRT in a study of reward‐responsivity: a pilot study

James Butterworth, Douglas Angus, A. Threadgill, Tina Seabrooke, Nicholas Kelley

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting AbstractResearchpeer-review


Descriptors: EEfRT, Win‐probability, Event‐related Potentials (ERPs)

The Effort Expenditure for Reward Task (EEfRT) is a behavioral paradigm that assesses effort‐based decision making, in which greater rewards require greater effort. Although the EEfRT has been repeatedly and reliably used in empirical research, electrophysiological responses (such as ERPs) on this task have been neglected, and the neural underpinnings of performance are not yet known. Here, we report a novel version of the EEfRT that allows for the extraction of decision‐based ERPs. We explore (a) how reward‐responsivity influences decision‐making in the EEfRT, (b) the neural correlates of decision‐making in the EEfRT, (c) the effectiveness of an ERP version of the EEfRT in a laboratory experiment, and (d) associations between self‐reported personality traits and behavior. Twenty‐eight participants completed a battery of self‐report questionnaires, followed by the EEfRT. Participants were most likely to choose the hard task when there was an 88% chance of winning and least likely to choose the hard task when there was a 12% change of winning. Using a temporal principal component analysis to extract ERPs, we observed a factor corresponding to the P3a that was significantly sensitive to win‐probability; this P3a was largest on 12% trials and smallest on 50% trials. Elevated depressive symptoms were associated with more hard task choices on 88% (vs. 50%) trials and a reduced P3a on 88% (vs. 50%) trials. Although our results are preliminary, we replicate behavioral findings and additionally identify an ERP component sensitive to win‐probability.

Funding: This research was funded by the University of Southampton.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2-024
Pages (from-to)S39
Number of pages1
Issue numberS1
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020
Event2020 Virtual Annual Meeting of the Society for Psychophysiological Research - Online
Duration: 4 Oct 202011 Oct 2020


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