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The Readiness Potential reflects the internal source of action, rather than decision uncertainty

Travers, E; Haggard, P; (2020) The Readiness Potential reflects the internal source of action, rather than decision uncertainty. European Journal of Neuroscience 10.1111/ejn.15063. (In press).

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Abstract

Voluntary actions are preceded by a Readiness Potential (RP), a slow EEG component generated in medial frontal cortical areas. The RP is classically thought to be specific to internally-driven decisions to act, and to reflect post-decision motor preparation. Recent work suggests instead that it may reflect noise or conflict during the decision itself, with internally-driven decisions tending to be more random, more conflicted and thus more uncertain than externally-driven actions. To contrast accounts based on endogenicity with accounts based on uncertainty, we recorded EEG in a task where participants decided to act or withhold action to accept or reject visually-presented gambles, and used multivariate methods to extract an RP-like component. We found no difference in amplitude of this component between actions driven by strong versus weak evidence, suggesting that the RP may not reflect uncertainty. In contrast, the same RP-like component showed higher amplitudes prior to actions performed without any external evidence (guesses) than for actions performed in response to equivocal, conflicting evidence. This supports the view that the RP reflects the internal source of action, rather than decision uncertainty.

Type: Article
Title: The Readiness Potential reflects the internal source of action, rather than decision uncertainty
Location: France
DOI: 10.1111/ejn.15063
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ejn.15063
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Decision-making, Readiness Potential, Voluntary action
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10116485
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