Detecting and correcting partial errors: Evidence for efficient control without conscious access

Article English OPEN
Rochet, N. ; Spieser, L. ; Casini, L. ; Hasbroucq, T. ; Burle, B. (2014)
  • Publisher: Springer Nature
  • Journal: Cognitive, Affective, & Behavioral Neuroscience (issn: 1530-7026, vol: 14, pp: 970-982)
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.3758/s13415-013-0232-0, pmc: PMC4125819
  • Subject: RC0321 | Cognitive control | [ SCCO.PSYC ] Cognitive science/Psychology | BF | [ SCCO.NEUR ] Cognitive science/Neuroscience | [SCCO.PSYC] Cognitive science/Psychology | Behavioral Neuroscience | Action awareness | Error detection | Cognitive Neuroscience | Article | [SCCO.NEUR] Cognitive science/Neuroscience

International audience; Appropriate reactions to erroneous actions are es-sential to keeping behavior adaptive. Erring, however, is notan all-or-none process: electromyographic (EMG) recordingsof the responding muscles have revealed that covert incorrectresponse activations (termed “partial errors”) occur on a pro-portion of overtly correct trials. The occurrence of such “par-tial errors” shows that incorrect response activations could becorrected online, before turning into overt errors. In the pres-ent study, we showed that, unlike overt errors, such “partialerrors” are poorly consciously detected by participants, whocould report only one third of their partial errors. Two param-eters of the partial errors were found to predict detection: thesurface of the incorrect EMG burst (larger for detected) andthe correction time (between the incorrect and correct EMGonsets; longer for detected). These two parameters providedindependent information. The correct(ive) responses associat-ed with detected partial errors were larger than the “pure-correct” ones, and this increase was likely a consequence,rather than a cause, of the detection. The respective impactsof the two parameters predicting detection (incorrect surfaceand correction time), along with the underlying physiologicalprocesses subtending partial-error detection, are discussed.
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