Monitoring antisaccades: Inter-individual differences in cognitive control and the influence of COMT and DRD4 genotype variations

Emmanouil Kattoulas, Ioannis Evdokimidis, Nicholas C. Stefanis, Dimitrios Avramopoulos, Costas N. Stefanis, Nikolaos Smyrnis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Conscious monitoring of behavior is an essential control function for adaptation and learning. Antisaccade performance was investigated in a large sample of young healthy men in two tasks, one that required conscious error monitoring and one that did not. Conscious error monitoring did not lead to changes in error rate between the two tasks, while other antisaccade parameters were significantly modulated. Application of signal detection theory showed a large inter-individual variability in error detection sensitivity: the majority of individuals were unable to monitor antisaccade errors (chance error detection group), while a minority that successfully monitored their errors (non-chance error detection group) were worse in antisaccade performance in both tasks. These results were explained by the hypothesis of two modes of antisaccade processing favored by each one of the two groups: a mode of conscious cortical cognitive control leading to error monitoring, worse performance and no post-error adaptation and a mode of non-conscious subcortical control leading to chance error monitoring, post-error slowing and better performance of the antisaccade task. This hypothesis was corroborated by the results of the genotype analysis. Error-monitoring sensitivity in the non-chance error detection group was modulated by COMT genotype variations that in turn did not have an effect on error rate. On the other hand, DRD4 genotype variations were related to differences in antisaccade error rate while not affecting error-monitoring sensitivity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)453-463
Number of pages11
JournalExperimental Brain Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2010


  • Error detection
  • Gene
  • Inhibition
  • Post-error adaptation
  • Saccade

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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