Examining the effect of perceived performance-contingent gains, losses and errors on arithmetic

Ram Naaman, Liat Goldfarb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Gains and losses have previously been found to differentially modulate Executive Functions and cognitive performance depending on performance contingency. Following recent findings suggesting that random gains and losses modulate arithmetic performance, the current study aimed to investigate the effect of perceived performance-contingent gains and losses on arithmetic performance. In the current study, an arithmetic equation judgment task was administered, with perceived performance-contingent gain, loss, and error feedback presented upon each trial. The results from two experiments suggest that when perceiving gain and loss as performance-contingent, the modulation of arithmetic performance, seen previously under random contingency conditions was entirely eliminated. In addition, another type of feedback was examined in the context of an arithmetic task: post-error adjustments. When performance after error feedback was compared to performance after other aversive performance feedback such as loss signals, only errors, but not other aversive feedback, modulated performance in the subsequent trial. These findings further extend the knowledge regarding the influence of gain and loss situations, as well as errors, on arithmetic performance.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0249696
Pages (from-to)e0249696
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number4
StatePublished - 8 Apr 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Naaman, Goldfarb. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


  • Executive Function/physiology
  • Feedback, Psychological/physiology
  • Humans
  • Judgment/physiology
  • Mathematics/methods
  • Reward

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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