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Brief Communications A Proactive Mechanism for Selective Suppression of
 

Summary: Brief Communications
A Proactive Mechanism for Selective Suppression of
Response Tendencies
Weidong Cai, Caitlin L. Oldenkamp, and Adam R. Aron
Department of Psychology, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California 92093
Whilemostresearchonstoppingactionexamineshowaninitiatedresponseisstoppedwhenasignaloccurs(i.e.,reactively),everydaylife
also calls for a mechanism to prepare to stop a particular response tendency (i.e., proactively and selectively). We hypothesized that
humansubjectscanpreparetostopaparticularresponsebyproactivelysuppressingthatresponserepresentationinthebrain.Wetested
this by using single-pulse transcranial magnetic stimulation and concurrent electromyography. This allowed us to interrogate the
corticomotorexcitabilityofspecificresponserepresentationsevenbeforeactionensued.Wefoundthatthemotorevokedpotentialofthe
effector that might need to be stopped in the future was significantly reduced compared with when that effector was at rest. Further, this
neuralindexofproactiveandselectivesuppressionpredictedthesubsequentselectivitywithwhichthebehavioralresponsewasstopped.
These results go further than earlier reports of reduced motor excitability when responses are stopped. They show that the control can be
appliedinadvance(proactively)andalsotargetedataparticularresponsechannel(selectively).Thisprovidesnovelevidenceforanactive
mechanism of suppression in the brain that is setup according to the subject's goals and even before action ensues.
Introduction
The ability to stop a response is important in everyday life. Much
research has investigated this using experimental paradigms, such as
go/no-go and stop-signal tasks (Verbruggen and Logan, 2009).
However, these paradigms are limited by the fact that stopping is

  

Source: Aron, Adam - Department of Psychology, University of California at San Diego

 

Collections: Biology and Medicine