Cognitive, Affective, & Behavioral Neuroscience

, Volume 10, Issue 1, pp 119–128

Effects of task-relevant incentives on the electrophysiological correlates of error processing in major depressive disorder


DOI: 10.3758/CABN.10.1.119

Cite this article as:
Holmes, A.J. & Pizzagalli, D.A. Cognitive, Affective, & Behavioral Neuroscience (2010) 10: 119. doi:10.3758/CABN.10.1.119


Major depressive disorder (MDD) is associated with action-monitoring dysfunction—particularly, disrupted error processing. Whether such dysregulation is further modulated by task incentives is largely unknown. The goal of this study was to investigate possible dysfunctions in error processing in MDD as a function of varying task incentives and clinical profile. To this end, we recorded the error-related negativity (ERN) and error positivity (Pe) in 18 MDD participants and 18 healthy controls during a Stroop task that intermixed no-incentive and reward trials. Relative to controls, MDD participants showed (1) larger ERN irrespective of task incentives, and (2) reduced Pe during reward (but not no-incentive) trials. Moreover, among MDD participants, Pe amplitudes were negatively correlated with depression severity and clinical symptoms. The present findings highlight distinct effects of task incentives on electrophysiological components of error processing and are interpreted within current theories of action monitoring and incentive processing in depression.

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© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyHarvard UniversityCambridge