Neural correlates of error-monitoring and mindset: Back to the drawing board?

Tieme W.P. Janssen*, Smiddy Nieuwenhuis, Jamie Hoefakker, Patricia D Dreier Gligoor, Milene Bonte, Nienke van Atteveldt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The different ways students deal with mistakes is an integral part of mindset theory. While previous error-monitoring studies found supporting neural evidence for mindset-related differences, they may have been confounded by overlapping stimulus processing. We therefore investigated the relationship between mindset and event-related potentials (ERPs) of error-monitoring (response-locked Ne, Pe), with and without overlap correction. In addition, besides behavioral measures of remedial action after errors (post-error slowing and accuracy), we investigated their neural correlates (stimulus-locked N2). Results indicated comparable Ne, but larger Pe amplitudes in fixed-minded students; however, after overlap correction, the Pe results were rendered non-significant. A likely explanation for this overlap was a near-significant effect of mindset on the preceding stimulus P3. Finally, although N2 was larger for trials following errors, mindset was unrelated. The current study shows that the relationship between error-monitoring and mindset is more complex and should be reconsidered. Future studies are advised to explore stimulus processing as well, and if needed, to correct for stimulus overlap. In addition, contextual influences on and individual variation in error-monitoring need more scrutiny, which may contribute to refining mindset theory.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0254322
Number of pages16
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jul 2021


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