Mistakes that Matter: A Social Neuropsychiatric Perspective on Performance Monitoring
Ellen R. A. de Bruijn
Leiden University

In order to perform in a safe, efficient, and socially adequate manner, humans need to continuously monitor own and other’s behaviour for errors and possible deviations from the goal. This so-called performance monitoring importantly enables flexible adaptive behaviour, and the relevance of this central process becomes evident when disturbances arise, as is the case in many psychiatric disorders. Research has identified the cognitive and neural mechanisms involved in performance monitoring in non-social contexts, but social performance monitoring has only recently begun to receive attention.

In the first part of my presentation, I will give an overview of performance-monitoring research and theories in individual contexts and possible modulations of these processes in psychiatric disorders and following psychopharmacological manipulations. I will specifically focus on an event-related potential related to error detection, the error-related negativity or ERN. In the second part, I will focus on the relevance of employing a social perspective on performance monitoring and will present recent EEG and fMRI findings from our own and other labs. I will end my presentation with a combined perspective and present some recent results of our work on altered social performance monitoring processes in psychopathy and after administration of oxytocin in healthy volunteers.