A miss is as good as a mile? Processing of near and full outcomes in a gambling paradigm

Abstract

Studies investigating the feedback-related negativity (FRN) and the P300 following near misses, full misses, and wins have yielded inconsistent results. Furthermore, the P300 results were likely confounded by an oddball effect due to the probabilities of the different outcomes. We introduced a fourth outcome (narrow win), which allows for balanced outcome probabilities and thus rules out potential oddball effects. We measured the FRN and P300 as well as subjective ratings while participants were gambling on a wheel of fortune. The FRN was larger following misses compared to wins and larger following near compared to full outcomes. For the P300, we observed a larger positivity following wins compared to misses and full compared to near outcomes. These findings further corroborate that near and full outcomes are processed as distinct events even though they result in the same monetary outcomes.

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