Contextual valence influences the neural dynamics of time and magnitude representation during feedback evaluation.

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    • Abstract:
      Contextual valence is an important dimension during value‐based decision‐making. Previous research has revealed behavioral and neural asymmetries between the gain context and the loss context. The present event‐related potential study investigated the effects of contextual valence on neural dynamics underlying magnitude and time, two important reward dimensions, during feedback evaluation. Forty‐two participants performed a simple guessing task in which they experienced both a gain context wherein high or low rewards were delivered immediately or six months later, and a loss context wherein high or low losses were delivered in the same way. Results showed that in the gain context, time and magnitude information were processed in a parallel way during the time windows of the reward positivity (RewP) and the P3. In the loss context, however, time and magnitude information were processed in a serial way such that time information was encoded during the RewP and P3 periods, whereas magnitude information was not tracked until the time window of the late positive potential. Our findings suggest that the neural dynamics underlying time and magnitude information are distinct between the gain and loss contexts, thus providing a novel perspective for the well‐known gain–loss asymmetry. Our findings add a new perspective on the gain‐loss asymmetry by examining the influences of contextual valence on neural dynamics underlying magnitude and time information. We provide evidence that time and magnitude are encoded in a parallel way in a gain context but in a serial way (time‐first‐magnitude‐second) in a loss context during feedback evaluation. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
    • Abstract:
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