Pinning down response inhibition in the brain — Conjunction analyses of the Stop-signal task

Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708, USA.
NeuroImage (Impact Factor: 6.36). 05/2010; 52(4):1621-32. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2010.04.276
Source: PubMed


Successful behavior requires a finely-tuned interplay of initiating and inhibiting motor programs to react effectively to constantly changing environmental demands. One particularly useful paradigm for investigating inhibitory motor control is the Stop-signal task, where already-initiated responses to Go-stimuli are to be inhibited upon the rapid subsequent presentation of a Stop-stimulus (yielding successful and unsuccessful Stop-trials). Despite the extensive use of this paradigm in functional neuroimaging, there is no consensus on which functional comparison to use to characterize response-inhibition-related brain activity. Here, we utilize conjunction analyses of successful and unsuccessful Stop-trials that are each contrasted against a reference condition. This conjunction approach identifies processes common to both Stop-trial types while excluding processes specific to either, thereby capitalizing on the presence of some response-inhibition-related activity in both conditions. Using this approach on fMRI data from human subjects, we identify a network of brain structures that was linked to both types of Stop-trials, including lateral-inferior frontal and medial frontal cortical areas and the caudate nucleus. In addition, comparisons with a reference condition matched for visual stimulation identified additional activity in the right inferior parietal cortex that may play a role in enhancing the processing of the Stop-stimuli. Finally, differences in stopping efficacy across subjects were associated with variations in activity in the left anterior insula. However, this region was also associated with general task accuracy (which furthermore correlated directly with stopping efficacy), suggesting that it might actually reflect a more general mechanism of performance control that supports response inhibition in a relatively nonspecific way.

Download full-text


Available from: Lawrence Gregory Appelbaum, May 08, 2014
19 Reads
    • "The resulting images show the Z-scores for the group, condition or interaction effects. It is debated which is the best comparison in the SST to identify inhibition-specific neural activity (Aron et al., 2007; Boehler et al., 2010; Swick et al., 2011). As the stopsignal is infrequent, a comparison between go-and inhibited stop-trials might be confounded with a salience response to the infrequent stop-signal. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a neurodegenerative disorder characterized by muscular atrophy, spasticity, and bulbar signs caused by loss of upper and lower motor neurons. Evidence suggests that ALS additionally affects other brain areas including premotor cortex and supplementary motor area. Here, we studied movement execution and inhibition in ALS patients using a stop-signal paradigm and functional magnetic resonance imaging. Seventeen ALS patients and 17 age-matched healthy controls performed a stop-signal task that required responding with a button press to a right- or left-pointing black arrow (go-stimuli). In stop-trials, a red arrow (stop-stimulus) was presented shortly after the black arrow indicating to withhold the prepared movement. Patients had by trend higher reaction times in go-trials but did not differ significantly in their inhibition performance. Patients showed stronger inhibition-related activity in inferior, superior, and middle frontal gyri as well as in putamen and pallidum. Error-related activity, conversely, was found to be stronger in healthy controls, particularly in the insula bilaterally. Patients also showed increased activity in the motor cortex during button presses. The results provide evidence for altered prefrontal and subcortical networks underlying motor execution, motor inhibition, and error monitoring in ALS. Hum Brain Mapp, 2015. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    Human Brain Mapping 04/2015; 36(8). DOI:10.1002/hbm.22814 · 5.97 Impact Factor
  • Source
    • "This is consistent with activity in extrastriate areas which is modulated by the prefrontal cortex. These results converge with fMRI-findings of enhanced inferior parietal activity in response to stop-and nogo-signals, especially if they are task-relevant (Boehler et al., 2010). The posterior negativity was slightly enhanced in failed compared to successful trials under both stop-and change-conditions, which was unexpected if assuming that it reflects orienting of attention towards the stop-signal. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Response inhibition is an essential control function necessary to adapt one's behavior. This key cognitive capacity is assumed to be dependent on the prefrontal cortex and basal ganglia. It is unresolved whether varying inhibitory demands engage different control mechanisms or whether a single motor inhibitory mechanism is involved in any situation. We addressed this question by comparing electrophysiological activity in conditions that require stopping a response to conditions that require switching to an alternate response. Analyses of electrophysiological data obtained from stop-signal tasks are complicated by overlapping stimulus-related activity that is distributed over frontal and parietal cortical recording sites. Here, we applied Laplacian transformation and independent component analysis (ICA) to overcome these difficulties. Participants were faster in switching compared to stopping a response, but we did not observe differences in neural activity between these conditions. Both stop- and change-trials Laplacian transformed ERPs revealed a comparable bilateral parieto-occipital negativity around 180ms and a frontocentral negativity around 220ms. ICA results suggested an inhibition-related frontocentral component which was characterized by a negativity around 200ms with a likely source in anterior cingulate cortex. The data provide support for the importance of posterior mediofrontal areas in inhibitory response control and are consistent with a common neural pathway underlying stopping and changing a motor response. The methodological approach proved useful to distinguish frontal and parietal sources despite similar timing and the ICA approach allowed assessment of single-trial data with respect to behavioral data. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier B.V.
    International journal of psychophysiology: official journal of the International Organization of Psychophysiology 02/2015; 26(3). DOI:10.1016/j.ijpsycho.2015.01.012 · 2.88 Impact Factor
  • Source
    • "Despite clear evidence for right side dominance in stopping as indicated by the conjunction analyses, we also noted left IFC involvement specifically in stopping at more liberal thresholds, with preliminary evidence of reduced activation in the ADHD group. However, Left IFC involvement in stopping has been noted in meta-analyses and recent studies [Boehler et al., 2010; Swick et al., 2008, 2011], with reduced activation observed in adult ADHD patients [Cubillo et al., 2010] consistent with present findings. Despite group differences in the right IFC associated with stopping compared with shifting, activation in this area was noted in both groups separately. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Adult ADHD has been linked to impaired motor response inhibition and reduced associated activation in the right inferior frontal cortex (IFC). However, it is unclear whether abnormal inferior frontal activation in adult ADHD is specifically related to a response inhibition deficit or reflects a more general deficit in attentional processing. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, we tested a group of 19 ADHD patients with no comorbidities and a group of 19 healthy control volunteers on a modified go/no-go task that has been shown previously to distinguish between cortical responses related to response inhibition and attentional shifting. Relative to the healthy controls, ADHD patients showed increased commission errors and reduced activation in inferior frontal cortex during response inhibition. Crucially, this reduced activation was observed when controlling for attentional processing, suggesting that hypoactivation in right IFC in ADHD is specifically related to impaired response inhibition. The results are consistent with the notion of a selective neurocognitive deficit in response inhibition in adult ADHD associated with abnormal functional activation in the prefrontal cortex, whilst ruling out likely group differences in attentional orienting, arousal and motivation. Hum Brain Mapp, 2014. © 2014 The Authors Human Brain Mapping Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    Human Brain Mapping 10/2014; 35(10). DOI:10.1002/hbm.22539 · 5.97 Impact Factor
Show more