A new look at performance monitoring through the goggles of goal relevance and its impact on the FRN ERP component

01 January 2016 → 31 December 2019
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
  • Social sciences
    • Education curriculum
    • Education systems
    • General pedagogical and educational sciences
    • Specialist studies in education
    • Other pedagogical and educational sciences
Project description

Performance monitoring (PM) is a very important psychological process in every-day life situations.
PM is usually achieved through the processing of internal (mental) states or values, or external
(feedback-related) events or behavioral incentives available in the environment when internal
information is lacking. The latter refers to cases where human subjects have to process external
feedback information in order to decipher whether their behavior is correct ("good"/conducive) or
not ("bad"/obstructive). However, it is still unclear which psychological mechanism actually
accounts for PM when it is based primarily on the processing of external feedback stimuli. While the
valence (positive vs. negative) and (un)expectedness (rare vs. frequent) of the feedback have been
proposed as key factors explaining PM, usually these factors are conflated with goal relevance, i.e.,
whether the feedback is informative (trustworthy) or not at a given moment in time for the subject.
In this project, we propose to explore the role of goal relevance during PM, using a series of
empirical studies that will use validated psychophysiological markers of feedback processing during
PM. We will test the prediction that these markers are sensitive to goal relevance, beyond what
valence alone or expectedness alone could account for. These empirical results will eventually be
integrated in a new theoretical model that will be able to accommodate earlier discrepant findings
on PM in the literature.