Feedback-related negativity encodes outcome uncertainty in the gain domain but not in the loss domain

Zhizhou Deng, Rongjun Yu, Xinxin Chen, Suiping Wang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Outcome uncertainty plays an important role in decision making. The present study used event-related potentials (ERP) combined with a simple gambling task to investigate the time course of outcome uncertainty processing in the gain and the loss domains. Behaviorally, participants showed a preference for the uncertain option in the gain domain, whereas they showed no such preference in the loss domain. In ERP analyses, the feedback-related negativity (FRN) amplitudes mirrored the behavioral results: for gains, cue-elicited FRN amplitudes were more negative for uncertain than for certain cues, whereas for losses, cue-elicited FRN amplitudes for certain cues and uncertain cues were not different. In contrast, the P300 amplitude was sensitive to the valence of cues (gains or losses) but not to the uncertainty of the outcome. These results suggest that the outcome uncertainty is rapidly and differentially processed in the gain and loss domains.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-9
Number of pages5
JournalNeuroscience Letters
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 20 Sept 2012


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