Electrophysiological activity underlying inhibitory control processes in normal adults.
In a recent ERP study of inhibitory control using the Stop-Signal Task [Pliszka, S., Liotti, M., Woldorff, M. (2000). Inhibitory control in children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: Event-related potentials identify the processing component and timing of an impaired right-frontal response-inhibition mechanism. Biological Psychiatry, 48, 238-246], we showed that in normal children (age 10-12 years) the Stop Signals elicited a robust, right-frontal-maximal N200 (latency approximately 200 ms) that was strongly reduced in children with ADHD. To further investigate the mechanisms of response inhibition, this paradigm was applied to 11 healthy young adults. To better distinguish response-inhibition-related activity from early attentional effects, a "Stop-Signal-Irrelevant" condition was added, in which subjects performed the task while ignoring the Stop Signals. In the Stop-Signal-Relevant condition, the right frontal N200 to the Stop Signals was larger for Successful inhibition (SI) than for Failed inhibition (FI) trials. The timing and distribution of this effect was strikingly similar to that of the right-frontal ADHD deficit reported in Pliszka et al. (2000), supporting this activity being related to successful normal inhibitory control processes. In contrast, a posterior N200 was larger for Stop-Relevant than for Stop-Irrelevant trials, likely reflecting enhanced early sensory attention to the Stop Signals when relevant. Two longer-latency failure-specific ERP effects were also observed: a greater frontopolar negative wave (370-450 ms) to Failed than Successful inhibitions, and a greater parietal positive slow wave (450-650 ms) for Failed inhibitions than ignore-stop trials, likely reflecting differential recruitment of error detection and correction mechanisms following Failed attempts to inhibit a response.
Schmajuk, M; Liotti, M; Busse, L; Woldorff, MG
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