Human Medial Frontal Cortex Activity Predicts Learning from Errors

Hester, Robert, Barre, Natalie, Murphy, Kevin, Silk, Tim J. and Mattingley, Jason B. (2008) Human Medial Frontal Cortex Activity Predicts Learning from Errors. Cerebral Cortex, 18 8: 1933-1940. doi:10.1093/cercor/bhm219

Author Hester, Robert
Barre, Natalie
Murphy, Kevin
Silk, Tim J.
Mattingley, Jason B.
Title Human Medial Frontal Cortex Activity Predicts Learning from Errors
Journal name Cerebral Cortex   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1047-3211
Publication date 2008-08-01
Year available 2007
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1093/cercor/bhm219
Open Access Status
Volume 18
Issue 8
Start page 1933
End page 1940
Total pages 8
Editor Rakic, P.
Place of publication United Kingdom
Publisher Oxford University Press
Language eng
Subject C1
380102 Learning, Memory, Cognition and Language
780108 Behavioural and cognitive sciences
Abstract Learning from errors is a critical feature of human cognition. It underlies our ability to adapt to changing environmental demands and to tune behavior for optimal performance. The posterior medial frontal cortex (pMFC) has been implicated in the evaluation of errors to control behavior, although it has not previously been shown that activity in this region predicts learning from errors. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, we examined activity in the pMFC during an associative learning task in which participants had to recall the spatial locations of 2-digit targets and were provided with immediate feedback regarding accuracy. Activity within the pMFC was significantly greater for errors that were subsequently corrected than for errors that were repeated. Moreover, pMFC activity during recall errors predicted future responses (correct vs. incorrect), despite a sizeable interval (on average 70 s) between an error and the next presentation of the same recall probe. Activity within the hippocampus also predicted future performance and correlated with error-feedback-related pMFC activity. A relationship between performance expectations and pMFC activity, in the absence of differing reinforcement value for errors, is consistent with the idea that error-related pMFC activity reflects the extent to which an outcome is "worse than expected."
Keyword anterior cingulate cortex
associative learning
error processing
functional MRI
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: 2008 Higher Education Research Data Collection
Queensland Brain Institute Publications
School of Psychology Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 34 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 37 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Tue, 06 May 2008, 21:43:00 EST by Mrs Jennifer English on behalf of School of Psychology