EFFECTS OF REWARD CONTEXT ON FEEDBACK PROCESSING AS INDEXED BY TIME-FREQUENCY ANALYSIS
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The role of reward context has been investigated as an important factor in feedback processing. Previous work has demonstrated that the amplitude of the feedback negativity (FN) depends on the value of the outcome relative to the range of possible outcomes in a given context, not the objective value of the outcome. However, some research has shown that the FN does not scale with loss magnitude in loss-only contexts, suggesting that some contexts do not show a pattern of context-dependence. Time-frequency decomposition techniques have proven useful for isolating important activity, and have shown that time-domain ERPs can be better represented as separable processes in delta (0-3 Hz) and theta (3-7 Hz). Thus, the current study seeks to assess whether the role of context in feedback processing is better elucidated using time-frequency analysis. Results revealed that theta was more context-dependent and showed a binary response to best-worst differences in the gain and even contexts. Delta was more context-independent: the best outcomes scaled linearly with reward magnitude and best-worst differences scaled with context valence. Our findings reveal that theta and delta are differentially sensitive to context and that context valence may play a critical role in determining how the brain processes good and bad outcomes.