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Computational Intelligence and Neuroscience
Volume 2007 (2007), Article ID 93968, 9 pages
Research Article

The P300 as a Marker of Waning Attention and Error Propensity

1Medical Research Council Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, Cambridge CB2 7EF, UK
2Hull York Medical School, York Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, York YO31 8HE, UK
3Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208, USA
4Department of Psychology and Institute of Neuroscience, Trinity College, Dublin 2, Ireland

Received 17 February 2007; Accepted 9 October 2007

Academic Editor: Saied Sanei

Copyright © 2007 Avijit Datta et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Action errors can occur when routine responses are triggered inappropriately by familiar cues. Here, EEG was recorded as volunteers performed a “go/no-go” task of long duration that occasionally and unexpectedly required them to withhold a frequent, routine response. EEG components locked to the onset of relevant go trials were sorted according to whether participants erroneously responded to immediately subsequent no-go trials or correctly withheld their responses. Errors were associated with a significant relative reduction in the amplitude of the preceding P300, that is, a judgement could be made bout whether a response-inhibition error was likely before it had actually occurred. Furthermore, fluctuations in P300 amplitude across the task formed a reliable associate of individual error propensity, supporting its use as a marker of sustained control over action.