Motor and nonmotor event-related potentials during a complex processing task

Charles H. Hillman, Ross J. Apparies, Bradley D. Hatfield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Identification of the necessary stimulus properties to elicit the stimulus preceding negativity (SPN) has been the impetus for numerous research studies. The current study was conducted to explore the possibility that the SPN is an index of cognitive resource allocation. An auditory warning stimulus (S1) indicated whether an easy or difficult discrimination would occur at S2. The SPN was collected before a nonmotor discrimination task (S2) that consisted of identifying the higher of two bars. To eliminate the influence of motor processing prior to S2, a button press on the side of the higher bar was held until perception of a response cue (S3). Additionally, P3, contingent negative variation (CNV), and behavioral measures were collected to assist in assessing the SPN. Results indicated that although the SPN exhibited increased negativity, no differences were observed based on task difficulty. However, task difficulty did affect P3 data for both the warning tone and the discrimination task, an effect not observed for the CNV. Overall, the data did not support that hypothesis that the SPN provides an index of cognitive demand.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)731-736
Number of pages6
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Anticipation
  • CNV
  • Cognitive demand
  • Event-related potentials
  • P3
  • SPN

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Neurology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Biological Psychiatry


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