The scientists monitored the brain activity of a group of volunteers as they made predictions based on information each read on a computer screen. Then, they were given new information that made many of the predictions incorrect. The participants had to learn from the mistake in order to repeat the error next time around.
The researchers measured activity in the lower temporal region of the brain, near the temples, which is responsible for processing visual information.
“By monitoring activity in the brain as it occurs, we were able to identify the moment at which this mechanism kicks in,” Wills said.
Activity increased immediately after the individual saw the new information flash onto the computer screen—within 0.1 seconds—before there was time for any conscious consideration.
Most previous research had focused on the brain’s frontal lobes, which are associated with complex thought processes, such as planning and conscious decision-making. This study, announced today and published in the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, indicates the brain reacts to mistakes before information even gets processed consciously. The scientists call it an "early warning signal" from a lower region of the brain.
If we consider the other posts in this blog, it seems that there is no much agreement among neuroscientists on what part of the brain alerts of a possible mistakes, updates information after making a mistake, or updates information after making the right thing. It may well be that there are several parts of the brain related the whole mistake processing.