The neural basis of cognitive control: Response selection and inhibition

Vina M. Goghari, Angus MacDonald

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    67 Scopus citations

    Abstract

    The functional neuroanatomy of tasks that recruit different forms of response selection and inhibition has to our knowledge, never been directly addressed in a single fMRI study using similar stimulus-response paradigms where differences between scanning time and sequence, stimuli, and experimenter instructions were minimized. Twelve right-handed participants were scanned on two standard cognitive control tasks, a stimulus-response incompatibility task, and a response inhibition task. A compound trial design allowed comparison of preparing to inhibit an upcoming automatic response to wholly inhibiting an automatic response. Furthermore, inhibiting an automatic response to perform an alternative task-relevant response was compared to wholly inhibiting an automatic response. No differences were found in prefrontal activity when preparing to inhibit an automatic response was compared to wholly inhibiting an automatic response, suggesting a mostly common network. The left inferior frontal gyrus was found to be commonly recruited during both tasks when controlled responses were required, likely due to its role in response selection. In contrast, the right inferior frontal gyrus was found to be more involved when task demands were stronger for response inhibition. Our results are largely consistent with models of cognitive control that postulate that separate psychological constructs, such as response selection and inhibition, are related processes largely served by a common prefrontal network. This prefrontal network is recruited to a greater or lesser extent depending on specific task demands.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)72-83
    Number of pages12
    JournalBrain and Cognition
    Volume71
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Nov 2009

    Keywords

    • Cognitive control
    • Executive functioning
    • Functional magnetic resonance imaging
    • Go/NoGo
    • Inferior frontal gyrus
    • Prefrontal cortex
    • Response incompatibility

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