Punishing an error improves learning: The influence of punishment magnitude on error-related neural activity and subsequent learning

Hester, Robert, Murphy, Kevin, Brown, Felicity L. and Skilleter, Ashley J. (2010) Punishing an error improves learning: The influence of punishment magnitude on error-related neural activity and subsequent learning. Journal of Neuroscience, 30 46: 15600-15607. doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2565-10.2010

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Author Hester, Robert
Murphy, Kevin
Brown, Felicity L.
Skilleter, Ashley J.
Title Punishing an error improves learning: The influence of punishment magnitude on error-related neural activity and subsequent learning
Journal name Journal of Neuroscience   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0270-6474
1529-2401
Publication date 2010-11
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2565-10.2010
Open Access Status File (Publisher version)
Volume 30
Issue 46
Start page 15600
End page 15607
Total pages 8
Place of publication Washington, United States
Publisher Society for Neuroscience
Collection year 2011
Language eng
Abstract Punishing an error to shape subsequent performance is a major tenet of individual and societal level behavioral interventions. Recent work examining error-related neural activity has identified that the magnitude of activity in the posterior medial frontal cortex (pMFC) is predictive of learning from an error, whereby greater activity in this region predicts adaptive changes in future cognitive performance. It remains unclear how punishment influences error-related neural mechanisms to effect behavior change, particularly in key regions such as pMFC, which previous work has demonstrated to be insensitive to punishment. Using an associative learning task that provided monetary reward and punishment for recall performance, we observed that when recall errors were categorized by subsequent performance— whether the failure to accurately recall a number–location association was corrected at the next presentation of the same trial—the magnitude of error-related pMFC activity predicted future correction. However, the pMFC region was insensitive to the magnitude of punishment an error received and it was the left insula cortex that predicted learning from the most aversive outcomes. These findings add further evidence to the hypothesis that error-related pMFC activity may reflect more than a prediction error in representing the value of an outcome. The novel role identified here for the insular cortex in learning from punishment appears particularly compelling for our understanding of psychiatric and neurologic conditions that feature both insular cortex dysfunction and a diminished capacity for learning from negative feedback or punishment. Copyright©2010 the authors
Keyword Anterior cingulate cortex
Medial frontal-cortex
Decision-making
Reward
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2011 Collection
Queensland Brain Institute Publications
School of Psychology Publications
 
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 11 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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Created: Sun, 12 Dec 2010, 00:05:34 EST