Masaru Kuwabara, Farshad A. Mansouri, Mark J. Buckley, and Keiji Tanaka
The Journal of Neuroscience, 28 May 2014, 34(22):7531-7547;
Monkeys were trained to select one of three targets by matching in color or matching in shape to a sample. Because the matching rule frequently changed and there were no cues for the currently relevant rule, monkeys had to maintain the relevant rule in working memory to select the correct target. We found that monkeys' error commission was not limited to the period after the rule change and occasionally occurred even after several consecutive correct trials, indicating that the task was cognitively demanding. In trials immediately after such error trials, monkeys' speed of selecting targets was slower. Additionally, in trials following consecutive correct trials, the monkeys' target selections for erroneous responses were slower than those for correct responses. We further found evidence for the involvement of the cortex in the anterior cingulate sulcus (ACCs) in these error-related behavioral modulations. First, ACCs cell activity differed between after-error and after-correct trials. In another group of ACCs cells, the activity differed depending on whether the monkeys were making a correct or erroneous decision in target selection. Second, bilateral ACCs lesions significantly abolished the response slowing both in after-error trials and in error trials. The error likelihood in after-error trials could be inferred by the error feedback in the previous trial, whereas the likelihood of erroneous responses after consecutive correct trials could be monitored only internally. These results suggest that ACCs represent both context-dependent and internally detected error likelihoods and promote modes of response selections in situations that involve these two types of error likelihood.