The anterior cingulate and error avoidance

Elena Magno, John J. Foxe, Sophie Molholm, Ian H. Robertson, Hugh Garavan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

130 Scopus citations


The precise role of the anterior cingulate cortex in monitoring, evaluating, and correcting behavior remains unclear despite numerous theories and much empirical data implicating it in cognitive control. The present event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging study was able to separate monitoring from error-specific functions by allowing subjects to reject a trial so as to avoid errors. Cingulate and left dorsolateral prefrontal activity was greatest on rejection trials but comparable for correct and error trials, whereas an errorspecific response was observed in bilateral insula. A dissociation was also observed between the cingulate and the nucleus accumbens with the latter more active for error than reject trials. These results reveal that the functional role of the cingulate is not particular to errors but instead is related to an evaluative function concerned with on-line behavioral adjustment in the service of avoiding losses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4769-4773
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number18
StatePublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Accumbens
  • Cingulate
  • Dorsolateral
  • Event related
  • Executive
  • Prefrontal cortex
  • fMRI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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