Neurophysiological correlates of collective perceptual decision-making

Kristina G. Baumgart*, Petr Byvshev, Alexa Nicole Sliby, Andreas Strube, Peter König, Basil Wahn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
6 Downloads (Pure)


Humans frequently perform tasks collaboratively in daily life. Collaborating with others may or may not result in higher task performance than if one were to complete the task alone (i.e., a collective benefit). A recent study on collective benefits in perceptual decision-making showed that dyad members with similar individual performances attain collective benefit. However, little is known about the physiological basis of these results. Here, we replicate this earlier work and also investigate the neurophysiological correlates of decision-making using EEG. In a two-interval forced-choice task, co-actors individually indicated presence of a target stimulus with a higher contrast and then indicated their confidence on a rating scale. Viewing the individual ratings, dyads made a joint decision. Replicating earlier work, we found a positive correlation between the similarity of individual performances and collective benefit. We analyzed event-related potentials (ERPs) in three phases (i.e., stimulus onset, response and feedback) using explorative cluster mass permutation tests. At stimulus onset, ERPs were significantly linearly related to our manipulation of contrast differences, validating our manipulation of task difficulty. For individual and joint responses, we found a significant centro-parietal error-related positivity for correct versus incorrect responses, which suggests that accuracy is already evaluated at the response level. At feedback presentation, we found a significant late positive fronto-central potential elicited by incorrect joint responses. In sum, these results demonstrate that response- and feedback-related components elicited by an error-monitoring system differentially integrate conflicting information exchanged during the joint decision-making process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1676-1696
Number of pages21
JournalEuropean Journal of Neuroscience
Issue number7
Early online date1 Jan 2019
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2020
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • collective benefit
  • confidence sharing
  • error positivity
  • error-monitoring
  • error-related negativity
  • joint action
  • social conflict


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