Perceived control increases the stimulus preceding negativity and reward positivity

Douglas J Angus, Christina Steindl, Eva Jonas, Cindy Harmon-Jones, Eddie Harmon-Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting AbstractResearchpeer-review


Descriptors: reward positivity, stimulus preceding negativity, ERPIn the current study we test the prediction that having a sense of control over out-comes increases the Stimulus Preceding Negativity (SPN) and Reward Positivity(RewP) compared to having no sense of control. Previous research has shownthat the SPN and the RewP are modulated by motivational intensity. In this con-text, motivational intensity can be thought of as the amount of effort individualsarewillingtoexpendonagivenbehavior.Ifataskisbelievedtobe,impossible–in that an individual does not have control over the outcomes associated withtheir actions – then motivational intensity is reduced. Although past researchusing observational learning and roulette type tasks have found that reduced con-trol is associated with smaller SPN and RewP amplitudes, these results may beconfounded by task specific differences. Twenty-five female participants com-pleted a gambling task in which a correct choice was followed by pictures ofattractive men and an incorrect choice was followed by pictures of rocks. Ratherthan using fundamentally different tasks to manipulate perceived control, partici-pants were told that in one block of trials, they could learn a mouse-click rule inorder to see only pictures of men (high-control condition) while in the otherblock, the pictures would appear randomly (low-control condition). However, inboth conditions, feedback appeared randomly. Although the SPN and RewP wereelicited in both blocks, their amplitudes were larger in the high-control condition.DJA was supported by an Australian Postgraduate Award. Portions of this workwere funded by a grant from the Australian Research Council (DP150104514)
Original languageEnglish
Article numberPoster 3-47
Pages (from-to)S69
Issue numberS1
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2016
Externally publishedYes
EventFifty‐Sixth Annual Meeting of the Society for Psychophysiological Research - Minneapolis Marriott City Center Hotel, Minneapolis, United States
Duration: 21 Sept 201625 Sept 2016
Conference number: 56th


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