Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Robert West


There is an evolving body of research using Event-Related Potentials (ERPs) to study electrophysiological activity in the brain associated with feedback processing in gambling tasks. In particular, investigators have examined the roles of outcome valence (Gehring & Willoughby, 2002) and outcome probability (Bellebaum & Daum, 2008) on an ERP component known as the Feedback-Related Negativity (FRN), whose amplitude has been shown to distinguish positive and negative outcomes. The current study examined the possibility that FRN amplitude might also be modulated by a person's subjective expectation of a particular outcome (expectancy), as well as whether or not an outcome was the result of their own actions or those of another (agency). Consistent with past research, the results of Experiment 1 of this study show an increase in the amplitude of the FRN when participants are given feedback indicating a loss during a decision-making task. This increased negativity in response to negative feedback was greater for trials in which participants were led to expect a win, though only for trials in which the value of the outcome was relatively smaller. In Experiment 2, the FRN was also found to be greater in amplitude on trials where losses resulted from choices made by participants as opposed to the choices of a computerized opponent. The findings of the current study suggest a somewhat nuanced account of the FRN in which amplitude is sensitive to individual expectations about winning and losing as well as the individual's perceived role in wins and losses.


Copyright Owner

Stephen J. Anderson



File Format


File Size

49 pages