Sci Rep. 2016;6:18714 doi: 10.1038/srep18714. 2016 Jan 05.

Neural mechanisms supporting evaluation of others' errors in real-life like conditions

Jääskeläinen IP, Halme HL, Agam Y, Glerean E, Lahnakoski JM, Sams M, Tapani K, Ahveninen J, Manoach DS.


The ability to evaluate others' errors makes it possible to learn from their mistakes without the need for first-hand trial-and-error experiences. Here, we compared functional magnetic resonance imaging activation to self-committed errors during a computer game to a variety of errors committed by others during movie clips (e.g., figure skaters falling down and persons behaving inappropriately). While viewing errors by others there was activation in lateral and medial temporal lobe structures, posterior cingulate cortex, precuneus, and medial prefrontal cortex possibly reflecting simulation and storing for future use alternative action sequences that could have led to successful behaviors. During both self- and other-committed errors activation was seen in the striatum, temporoparietal junction, and inferior frontal gyrus. These areas may be components of a generic error processing mechanism. The ecological validity of the stimuli seemed to matter, since we largely failed to see activations when subjects observed errors by another player in the computer game, as opposed to observing errors in the rich real-life like human behaviors depicted in the movie clips.

PMID: 26729348