The Monetary Incentive Delay (MID) Task Induces Changes in Sensory Processing: ERP Evidence
Numerous cognitive studies have demonstrated experience-induced plasticity in the primary sensory cortex, indicating that repeated decisions could modulate sensory processing. In this context, we investigated whether an auditory version of the monetary incentive delay (MID) task could change the neural processing of the incentive cues that code expected monetary outcomes. To study sensory plasticity, we presented the incentive cues as deviants during oddball sessions recorded before and after training in the two MID task sessions. We found that after 2 days of training in the MID task, incentive cues evoked a larger P3a (compared with the baseline condition), indicating there was an enhancement of the involuntary attention to the stimuli that predict rewards. At the individual level, the training-induced change of mismatch-related negativity was correlated with the amplitude of the feedback-related negativity (FRN) recorded during the first MID task session. Our results show that the MID task evokes plasticity changes in
the auditory system associated with better passive discrimination of incentive cues and with enhanced involuntary attention switching towards these cues. Thus, the sensory processing of incentive cues is dynamically modulated by previous outcomes.