Logo Logo
Switch Language to German

Kaiser, Jakob; Belenya, Roman; Chung, Wai-Ying; Gentsch, Antje and Schütz-Bosbach, Simone (2021): Learning something new versus changing your ways: Distinct effects on midfrontal oscillations and cardiac activity for learning and flexible adjustments. In: Neuroimage, Vol. 226, 117550

Full text not available from 'Open Access LMU'.


We need to be able to learn new behaviour, but also be capable of changing existing routines, when they start conflicting with our long-term goals. Little is known about to what extent blank-slate learning of new and adjustment of existing behavioural routines rely on different neural and bodily mechanisms. In the current study, participants first acquired novel stimulus-response contingencies, which were subsequently randomly changed to create the need for flexible adjustments. We measured midfrontal theta oscillations via EEG as an indicator of neural conflict processing, as well as heart rate as a proxy of autonomic activity. Participants' trial-wise learning progress was estimated via computation modelling. Theta power and heart rate significantly differed between correct and incorrect trials. Differences between correct and incorrect trials in both neural and cardiac feedback processing were more pronounced for adjustments compared to blank-slate learning. This indicates that both midfrontal and cardiac processing are sensitive to changes in stimulus-response contingencies. Increases in individual learning rates predicted lower impact of performance feedback on midfrontal theta power, but higher impact on heart rate. This suggests that cardiac and midfrontal reactivity are partially reflective of different mechanisms related to feedback learning. Our results shed new light on the role of neural and autonomic mechanisms for learning and behavioural adjustments.

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item