Developmental Science

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Volume 8 Issue 6 (November 2005), Pages F31-F36, 459-620

Maturation of action monitoring from adolescence to adulthood: an ERP study (pages 525-534)


This study investigated the development of the frontal lobe action‐monitoring system from late childhood and adolescence to early adulthood using ERP markers of error processing. Error negativity (ERN) and correct response negativity (CRN) potentials were recorded while adolescents and adults (aged 12–22 years, n = 23) performed two forced‐choice visual reaction time tasks of differing complexity. Significant age differences were seen for behavioural and ERP responses to complex (infrequent, incompatible) trials: adolescents elicited an error negativity of reduced magnitude compared with adults. Furthermore, in contrast to adults, adolescents showed a non‐significant differentiation between response‐locked ERP components elicited by correct (CRN) and error responses (ERN). Behaviourally, adolescents corrected fewer errors in incompatible trials, and with increasing age there was greater post‐error slowing. In conclusion, the neural systems underlying action‐monitoring continue to mature throughout the second decade of life, and are associated with increased efficiency for fast error detection and correction during complex tasks.

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