Self-awareness buffers the consequences of negative feedback: Evidence from an ERP study.

Affiliation

Xu M(1), Liu B(2), Gu R(3), Yang S(4), Wang H(1), Zhu X(5).
Author information:
(1)Institute of Cognition, Brain and Health, Henan University, Kaifeng 475004, China.
(2)Institute of Cognition, Brain and Health, Henan University, Kaifeng 475004, China; Institute of Psychology and Behavior, Henan University, Kaifeng 475004, China.
(3)CAS Key Laboratory of Behavioral Science, Institute of Psychology, Beijing 100101, China; Department of Psychology, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China.
(4)Department of Psychology, Shanghai University of Sport, Shanghai 200438, China.
(5)Institute of Cognition, Brain and Health, Henan University, Kaifeng 475004, China; Institute of Psychology and Behavior, Henan University, Kaifeng 475004, China. Electronic address: [Email]

Abstract

Previous studies have found that self-awareness can help people to recruit more cognitive resources, while people with more cognitive resources can better buffer the detrimental effects of negative events. However, it is not clear whether self-awareness can directly buffer the consequences of negative feedback (i.e., reducing neural sensitivity to negative feedback). To explore this issue, we used a scrambled sentence task (SST) to manipulate participants' self-awareness (self vs. other) and investigated whether outcome evaluations in a gambling task are modulated by the self-awareness priming. Event-related brain potentials (ERPs) were recorded while 27 normal adults performed a gambling task. The ERP analysis focused on the feedback-related negativity (FRN), reward positivity (RewP) and P300 component. We found that the self-awareness priming resulted in a smaller FRN response to the losses compared with the other-awareness priming. There was no significant difference in the RewP response to wins between the self-awareness condition and the other-awareness condition. We also found that the self-awareness condition evoked larger P300 amplitude than the other-awareness condition. The present findings suggest that self-awareness can help people to cope with negative feedback in the early semiautomatic outcome evaluation stage (i.e., reducing neural sensitivity to negative feedback) and enhance top-down evaluation to both positive and negative feedback in the late and deliberate stage, providing direct evidence of the adaptive function of self-awareness on outcome experience.