Neural systems for error monitoring: Recent findings and theoretical perspectives

Stephan F. Taylor, Emily R. Stern, William J. Gehring

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

309 Scopus citations


Complex behavior requires a flexible system that maintains task performance in the context of specific goals, evaluating behavioral progress, adjusting behavior as needed, and adapting to changing contingencies. Generically referred to as performance monitoring, a key component concerns the identification and correction of differences between an intended and an executed response (i.e., an error). Brain mapping experiments have now identified the temporal and spatial components of a putative error-processing system in the large-scale networks of the human brain. Most of this work has focused on the medial frontal cortex and an associated electrophysiological component known as the error-related negativity (or error negativity). Although the precise role, or roles, of this region still remain unknown, investigations of error processing have identified a cluster of modules in the medial frontal cortex involved in monitoring/maintaining ongoing behavior and motivating task sets. Other regions include bilateral anterior insula/inferior operculum and lateral prefrontal cortex. Recent work has begun to uncover how individual differences might affect the modules recruited for a task, in addition to the identification of associations between pathological states and aberrant error signals, leading to insights about possible mechanisms of neuropsychiatric illness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)160-172
Number of pages13
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Anterior cingulate cortex
  • Brain mapping
  • Error-related negativity


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