Experimental Brain Research

, Volume 180, Issue 1, pp 59–67 | Cite as

Characterising error-awareness of attentional lapses and inhibitory control failures in patients with traumatic brain injury

  • F. M. O’Keeffe
  • P. M. Dockree
  • P. Moloney
  • S. Carton
  • I. H. Robertson
Research Article


Awareness deficits are a significant problem following traumatic brain injury (TBI). This study examined error processing as candidate marker of awareness and compared the performance of 18 TBI participants and 18 controls using an online error-monitoring task while participants performed simple go/no-go tasks. Error-monitoring performance was compared where the no-go target was part of (a) a predictive sequence, (b) predictive sequence plus a dual-task element and (c) a random sequence. Results showed that the TBI participants, in contrast to control participants, were significantly impaired at monitoring their errors during both predictive sequence tasks but were not impaired on the random sequence task. These findings suggest that following TBI, when an error is more impulsive it may be more easily monitored, whereas when an error is characterised by attentional drift, subsequent error-processing mechanisms may fail to engage. Higher levels of online error-awareness were also associated with lower levels of anxiety, fewer symptoms of frontal dysfunction and greater competence in everyday functioning.


Traumatic brain injury Errors Attention Response inhibition Frontal dysfunction 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • F. M. O’Keeffe
    • 1
    • 2
  • P. M. Dockree
    • 1
  • P. Moloney
    • 1
  • S. Carton
    • 2
  • I. H. Robertson
    • 1
  1. 1.Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience and Department of PsychologyTrinity College DublinDublin 2Ireland
  2. 2.Department of Clinical NeuropsychologyNational Rehabilitation HospitalCo. DublinIreland

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