Performance monitoring and the medial prefrontal cortex: a review of individual differences and context effects as a window on self-regulation
- Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience Laboratory, Department of Psychology, Brock University, ON, Canada
The medial prefrontal cortex (MPFC) is central to self-regulation and has been implicated in generating a cluster of event-related potential components, collectively referred to as medial frontal negativities (MFNs). These MFNs are elicited while individuals monitor behavioral and environmental consequences, and include the error-related negativity, Nogo N2, and the feedback-related negativity. A growing cognitive and affective neuroscience literature indicates that the activation of the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) and surrounding medial prefrontal regions during performance monitoring is not only influenced by task context, but that these patterns of activity also vary as a function of individual differences (e.g., personality, temperament, clinical and non-clinical symptomatology, socio-political orientation, and genetic polymorphisms), as well as interactions between individual differences and task context. In this review we survey the neuroscience literature on the relations between performance monitoring, personality, task context, and brain functioning with a focus on the MPFC. We relate these issues to the role of affect in the paradigms used to elicit performance-monitoring neural responses and highlight some of the theoretical and clinical implications of this research. We conclude with a discussion of the complexity of these issues and how some of the basic assumptions required for their interpretation may be clarified with future research.
Keywords: ERN, FRN, Nogo N2, anterior cingulate, medial prefrontal cortex, individual differences, performance monitoring, self-regulation
Citation: van Noordt SJR and Segalowitz SJ (2012) Performance monitoring and the medial prefrontal cortex: a review of individual differences and context effects as a window on self-regulation. Front. Hum. Neurosci. 6:197. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2012.00197
Received: 09 March 2012; Paper pending published: 31 March 2012;
Accepted: 17 June 2012; Published online: 11 July 2012.
Copyright © 2012 van Noordt and Segalowitz. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in other forums, provided the original authors and source are credited and subject to any copyright notices concerning any third-party graphics etc.
*Correspondence: Sidney J. Segalowitz, Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience Laboratory, Department of Psychology, Brock University, 500 Glenridge Avenue, St. Catharines, ON L2S 3A1, Canada. e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org