Motivational processes from expectancyñvalue theory are associated with variability in the error positivity in young children

Abstract Motivational beliefs and values influence how children approach challenging activities. The current study explored motivational processes from an expectancyñvalue theory framework by studying childrenís mistakes and their responses to them by focusing on two event-related potential (ERP) components: the error-related negativity (ERN) and the error positivity (Pe). Motivation was assessed using a child-friendly challenge puzzle task and a brief interview measure prior to ERP testing. Data from 50 4- to 6-year-old children revealed that greater perceived competence beliefs were related to a larger Pe, whereas stronger intrinsic task value beliefs were associated with a smaller Pe. Motivation was unrelated to the ERN. Individual differences in early motivational processes may reflect electrophysiological activity related to conscious error awareness. “