The ability to learn from the consequences of our actions is crucial for adaptive goal-directed behavior. We learn to avoid actions that lead to unfavorable outcomes and pursue actions that lead to desirable results. By recording event-related potentials (ERPs), we show that neural reinforcement learning signals associated with positive outcomes are predictive of subsequent learning of a sequence of motor actions: Positive feedback to a response that was later correctly repeated was associated with a larger Medial Frontal Negativity (MFN) compared to when it was not correctly repeated on a subsequent encounter. This finding adds to recent evidence suggesting that the function of the Anterior Cingulate Cortex is to establish associations between actions and their outcomes, both positive and negative.

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Journal Psychophysiology: an international journal
van der Helden, J, & Boksem, M.A.S. (2012). Medial frontal negativity reflects learning from positive feedback. Psychophysiology: an international journal, 49(8), 1109–1113. doi:10.1111/j.1469-8986.2012.01388.x