The functional significance of the skilled performance positivity: An update

Hiroaki Masaki*, Lu Xu, Naoya Taima, Timothy I. Murphy

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The skilled performance positivity (SPP) emerges approximately 450. ms after button presses in a skilled performance task (SPT) where the participant is required to initiate a visual sweep with a left-hand button press and then stop it with a right-hand button press within a predetermined time frame (ranging from 40 to 60. ms). The SPP has been thought to represent appraisal of performance results independent of the reafferent activity, and reported to reduce in amplitude following inaccurate timing performance. We hypothesized that reduced SPP on incorrect trials merely indicates superimposition of the feedback-related negativity (FRN) that is elicited by negative outcomes, because the right-hand button press not only stops the visual sweep but also presents visual feedback. Further, we assumed that the SPP essentially represents a P300 elicited by the visual feedback. To address these questions, we compared the SPT condition and a delayed-feedback (DFB) condition where feedback was presented approximately 1. s after the left-hand button press. We observed the SPP only in the SPT condition, and found feedback-elicited P300s in the DFB condition. Both of these positivities shared a similar scalp distribution. We also replicated the reduced SPP on incorrect trials that shared a similar topography with the FRN elicited by the negative feedback. According to these findings, it is reasonable to conclude that the SPP represents the feedback-elicited P300, and after incorrect performance an FRN is superimposed on it.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)44-53
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Psychophysiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Oct 1


  • Error-related negativity
  • Feedback-related negativity
  • P300
  • Performance monitoring
  • Skilled performance positivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Physiology (medical)


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