Introducing a special issue on stopping action and cognition
From a psychological perspective, `stopping' refers to the
situation where an agent halts an incipient motor response or
otherwise blocks particular thoughts, motivations or emotions.
Stopping is thus one of a family of cognitive functions, including
working memory, monitoring of errors, and attention which make
up the wider domain of cognitive control or executive function. It is
likely that such putative functions work together during the
performance of most experimental tasks as well as during real-life
Apart from its psychological meaning, it seems to me that
stopping can have two other meanings: the behavioral outcome (i.e.
response emission was stopped); and the relevant circuits in the
brain (i.e. how stopping is implemented neurally). The term
`stopping' may be preferable to the term `response inhibition
because it is less confusing with respect to these different meanings.
The term `response inhibition' runs the risk of being confused with
an actual inhibitory process in the brain, which need not be the case.
For example, one might physically stop a motor response by