Event-related brain potentials were examined in 32 adolescents (50% female) from a high-risk sample, who were exposed to cocaine and other drugs prenatally. Adolescents were selected for extreme high- or low-risk behavior on the Balloon Analog Risk Task, a measure of real-world risk-taking propensity. The feedback error-related negativity (fERN), an event-related potential (ERP) that occurs when an expected reward does not occur, was examined in a game in which choices lead to monetary gains and losses with feedback delayed 1 or 2 s. The fERN was clearly visible in the fronto-central scalp region in this adolescent sample. Feedback type, feedback delay, risk status, and sex were all associated with fERN variability. Monetary feedback also elicited a P300-like component, moderated by delay and sex. Delaying reward feedback may provide a means for studying complementary functioning of dopamine and norepinephrine systems.

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