Impact of commitment on performance evaluation in the rostral cingulate motor area

T. Michelet, B. Bioulac, D. Guehl, L. Escola, P. Burbaud
Journal of Neuroscience. 2007-07-11; 27(28): 7482-7489
DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4718-06.2007

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Michelet T(1), Bioulac B, Guehl D, Escola L, Burbaud P.

Author information:
(1)Laboratoire de Physiologie et Physiopathologie de la Signalisation Cellulaire,
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Unité Mixte de Recherche 5543,
Université Victor Segalen Bordeaux2, 33076 Bordeaux, France.

Performance evaluation is a prerequisite for behavioral adaptation. Although the
anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) is thought to play a central role in error
detection, little is known about the electrophysiological activity of this
structure during the performance-monitoring process. We directly addressed this
issue by training monkeys to perform a Stroop-like task and then recorded
neuronal activity in the rostral cingulate motor area (CMAr), a relatively
unexplored region of the ACC known to be involved in motor processing. We found
that most CMAr neurons responded during the evaluation period to both positive
and negative feedback, but neuronal changes were more important after an error
than after a successful trial. Interestingly, this performance-monitoring
activity was not directly modulated by the degree of difficulty of the cognitive
situation because changes in discharge frequency were similar whatever the level
of attentional control imposed on the monkey. Firing activity during the
evaluation period increased more, however, in erroneously completed than in
incompleted trials and when the reward was delivered in an active rather than
passive context, indicating that performance evaluation was conditioned by the
degree of commitment of the animal to the task. It would thus seem that CMAr
neurons could constitute a system for the evaluation of behavioral performance
contingent on the subject’s commitment to the task.

Auteurs Bordeaux Neurocampus