The sustained influence of an error on future decision-making

Björn C. Schiffler, Sara L. Bengtsson, Daniel Lundqvist

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
19 Downloads (Pure)


Post-error slowing (PES) is consistently observed in decision-making tasks after negative feedback. Yet, findings are inconclusive as to whether PES supports performance accuracy. We addressed the role of PES by employing drift diffusion modeling which enabled us to investigate latent processes of reaction times and accuracy on a large-scale dataset (>5,800 participants) of a visual search experiment with emotional face stimuli. In our experiment, post-error trials were characterized by both adaptive and non-adaptive decision processes. An adaptive increase in participants' response threshold was sustained over several trials post-error. Contrarily, an initial decrease in evidence accumulation rate, followed by an increase on the subsequent trials, indicates a momentary distraction of task-relevant attention and resulted in an initial accuracy drop. Higher values of decision threshold and evidence accumulation on the post-error trial were associated with higher accuracy on subsequent trials which further gives credence to these parameters' role in post-error adaptation. Finally, the evidence accumulation rate post-error decreased when the error trial presented angry faces, a finding suggesting that the post-error decision can be influenced by the error context. In conclusion, we demonstrate that error-related response adaptations are multi-component processes that change dynamically over several trials post-error.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1077
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jun 2017

Cite this