The functional significance of error-related negativity (Ne/ERN), which occurs at approximately the same time as erroneous responses, has been investigated extensively using reaction time (RT) tasks. The error detection theory assumes that the Ne/ERN reflects the mismatch detected by comparing representations of the intended and the actually performed actions. The conflict monitoring theory asserts that the Ne/ERN reflects the detection of response conflict between intended and actually performed actions during response selection. In this study, we employed a gambling task in which participants were required to choose whether they would take part in betting in each trial and they were presented with gain or loss feedback in both the “to bet” and the “not to bet” trials. The response-locked ERP magnitudes were more negative for “to bet” than for “not to bet” choices for both large and small stakes and were more negative for choices involving large rather than small stakes. Dipole source analysis localized the ERP responses to the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC). These findings suggest that the ACC signals the riskiness of choices and may function as an early warning system that alerts the brain to prepare for the potential negative consequence associated with a risky action.

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