Fast and slow brain rhythms in rule/expectation violation tasks: Focusing on evaluation processes by excluding motor action Academic Article uri icon


  • Abstract Theta rhythm has been connected to ERP components such as the error-related negativity (ERN) and the feedback-related negativity (FRN). The nature of this theta activity is still unclear, that is, whether it is related to error detection, conflict between responses or reinforcement learning processes. We examined slow (e.g., theta) and fast (e.g., gamma) brain rhythms related to rule violation. A time–frequency decomposition analysis on a wide range of frequencies band (0–95 Hz) indicated that the theta activity relates to evaluation processes, regardless of motor/action processes. Similarities between the theta activities found in rule-violation tasks and in tasks eliciting ERN/FRN suggest that this theta activity reflects the operation of general evaluation mechanisms. Moreover, significant effects were found also in fast brain rhythms. These effects might be related to the synchronization between different types of cognitive processes involving the fulfillment of a task (e.g., working memory, visual perception, mathematical calculation, etc.).

publication date

  • January 1, 2009