Human or Not Human? Performance Monitoring ERPs During Human Agent and Machine Supervision

February 1, 2019
Arnaud Delorme, PhD

Somon, Bertille & Campagne, Aurélie & Delorme, Arnaud & Berberian, Bruno. (2019). Human or not human? Performance monitoring ERPs during human agent and machine supervision. NeuroImage. 186. 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2018.11.013.


Performance monitoring is a critical process which allows us to both learn from our own errors, and also interact with other human beings. However, our increasingly automated world requires us to interact more and more with automated systems, especially in risky environments. The present EEG study aimed at investigating and comparing the neuro-functional correlates associated with performance monitoring of an automated system and a human agent using a vertically-oriented arrowhead version of the flanker task. Given the influence of task difficulty on performance monitoring, two levels of difficulty were considered in order to assess their impact on supervision activity. A large N2-P3 complex in fronto-central regions was observed for both human agent error detection and system error detection during supervision. Using a cluster-based permutation analysis, a significantly decreased P3-like component was found for system compared to human agent error detection. This variation is in line with various psychosocial behavioral studies showing a difference between human-human and human-machine interactions, even though it was not clearly anticipated. Finally, the activity observed during error detection was significantly reduced in the difficult condition compared to the easy one, for both system and human agent supervision. Overall, this study is a first step towards the characterization of the neurophysiological correlates underlying system supervision, and a better understanding of their evolution in more complex environments. To go further, these results need to be replicated in other experiments with various paradigms to assess the robustness of the pattern and decrease during system supervision.

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