Accurate reward predictions include forecasting both what a reward will be and when a reward will occur. We tested how variations in the certainty of reward outcome and certainty in timing of feedback presentation modulate neural indices of reward prediction errors using the reward positivity (RewP) component of the scalp-recorded brain event-related potential (ERP). In a within-subjects design, seventy-three healthy individuals completed two versions of a cued doors task; one cued the probability of a reward outcome while the other cued the probability of a delay before feedback. Replicating previous results, RewP amplitude was larger for uncertain feedback compared to certain feedback. Additionally, RewP amplitude was differentially associated with uncertainty of presence/absence of reward, but not uncertainty of feedback timing. Findings suggest a dissociation in that RewP amplitude is modulated by reward prediction certainty but is less affected by certainty surrounding timing of feedback.
bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience