P300 and uncertainty reduction in a concept identification task.

J.H. de Swart, A. Kok, E.A. Das-Smaal

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The relationship between the amplitude of P300, the mean amplitude of the Slow Wave, and uncertainty reduction after (dis)confirmation of hypotheses was studied in a Concept-Identification task. The subjects had to categorize stimuli according to a conceptual rule (joint denial or exclusion) and to rate the confidence that their classification was correct. Three types of feedback were distinguished: confirming (subject's categorization was correct), disconfirming (subject's categorization was incorrect), and non-informative feedback. The EEG was averaged separately according to the three types of feedback and the two confidence ratings (low, high). The data showed the predicted interaction between type of feedback and confidence level. A larger P300 amplitude turned up after confirming feedback when the subject was less confident, than when he was more confident. The reverse was found after disconfirming feedback. The P300 amplitude after non-informative feedback was not influenced by confidence. The mean amplitude of the Slow Wave showed approximately the same interaction pattern. The results were interpreted in terms of changes in the probability of hypotheses which subjects use to categorize stimuli in a Concept-Identification task.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)619 629
Publication statusPublished - 1981


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