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.

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Available from: Lawrence Gregory Appelbaum, May 08, 2014
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    ABSTRACT: Motor response inhibition is a psychological construct of both theoretical and clinical importance. We draw on unit recording studies in behaving monkeys and summarize features that best describe an “inhibitory” region. For two decades, investigators have combined functional brain imaging and various behavioral paradigms to examine the neural substrates of response inhibition. We briefly review this literature and highlight the potential roles of the presupplementary motor area and right inferior frontal cortex in set- and stimulus-driven processes. While the distinction between proactive and reactive controls provides a conceptual framework to elucidate the component processes of response inhibition, individual brain regions may partake in both processes.
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    • "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. "
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