Does the error negativity reflect response conflict strength? Evidence from a Simon task

Hiroaki Masaki*, Michael Falkenstein, Birgit Stürmer, Thomas Pinkpank, Werner Sommer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Citations (Scopus)


The error (-related) negativity (Ne or ERN) has been related to detecting the mismatch between incorrectly executed and appropriate responses or, alternatively, to the degree of conflict between different response alternatives. In this study different levels of response conflict were generated by manipulating task difficulty in a Simon task. According to the product of incorrect and subsequent correct EMG activation, the amount of conflict in error trials was indeed larger for the easy than for the hard condition. In contrast, Ne/ERN amplitudes did not differ between difficulty conditions, nor was the amount of conflict mirrored by Ne/ERN amplitude. Therefore, the present data are at variance with the hypothesis that the Ne/ERN reflects the degree of response conflict.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)579-585
Number of pages7
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2007 Jul


  • Corrective EMG
  • Error detection
  • Error negativity (Ne)
  • Response conflict strength

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Neurology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Biological Psychiatry


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