Effects of loss aversion on neural responses to loss outcomes: An event-related potential study

Katerina Kokmotou, Stephanie Cook, Yuxin Xie, Hazel Wright, Vicente Soto, Nicholas Fallon, Timo Giesbrecht, Athanasios Pantelous, Andrej Stancak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Loss aversion is the tendency to prefer avoiding losses over acquiring gains of the same amount. To shed light on the spatio-temporal processes underlying loss aversion, we analysed the associations between individual loss aversion and electrophysiological responses to loss and gain outcomes in a monetary gamble task. Electroencephalographic feedback-related negativity (FRN) was computed in 29 healthy participants as the difference in electrical potentials between losses and gains. Loss aversion was evaluated using non-linear parametric fitting of choices in a separate gamble task. Loss aversion correlated positively with FRN amplitude (233–263 ms) at electrodes covering the lower face. Feedback related potentials were modelled by five equivalent source dipoles. From these dipoles, stronger activity in a source located in the orbitofrontal cortex was associated with loss aversion. The results suggest that loss aversion implemented during risky decision making is related to a valuation process in the orbitofrontal cortex, which manifests during learning choice outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)30-40
Number of pages11
JournalBiological Psychology
StatePublished - 1 May 2017


  • Decision making
  • Feedback-related negativity
  • Loss aversion
  • Orbitofrontal cortex
  • Reward and punishment


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