Psychology ETDs

Publication Date

Summer 6-1-2023


The reward positivity (RewP) is a feedback-related event-related potential elicited in response to reward with two distinct defining features. First, it reflects an axiomatic reward prediction error signal. Second, it is spectrally represented within the delta band. We propose a third defining feature, namely that it is an additive and temporally independent event-related potential feature. Across five datasets and ten studies, this dissertation tested three major hypotheses. First, we show that stimulus modality (e.g. visual and auditory stimuli) and parametric delays can shift the RewP in time, which empirically indicates an additive and temporally independent feature. Second, we provide some evidence that these shifts in timing can be elucidated with a computational model, lending credibility to our initial conclusions. Third, we show that our computational model can account for similar reductions in the RewP associated with sub-clinical depression. Taken together, our findings provide a viable third descriptor of the RewP that includes an additive and temporally independent dynamic.

Degree Name


Level of Degree


Department Name


First Committee Member (Chair)

James F Cavanagh

Second Committee Member

Jeremy Hogeveen

Third Committee Member

Nathan S Pentkowski

Fourth Committee Member

Edward Bernat




Reward Positivity, Computational Modeling, Event-Related Potentials

Document Type


Included in

Psychology Commons