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J Cogn Neurosci. 2008 Jun;20(6):1021-9. doi: 10.1162/jocn.2008.20071.

Neural correlates of post-error slowing during a stop signal task: a functional magnetic resonance imaging study.

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Connecticut Mental Health Center, S103, Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, 34 Park Street, New Haven, CT 06519, USA.


The ability to detect errors and adjust behavior accordingly is essential for maneuvering in an uncertain environment. Errors are particularly prone to occur when multiple, conflicting responses are registered in a situation that requires flexible behavioral outputs; for instance, when a go signal requires a response and a stop signal requires inhibition of the response during a stop signal task (SST). Previous studies employing the SST have provided ample evidence indicating the importance of the medial cortical brain regions in conflict/error processing. Other studies have also related these regional activations to postconflict/error behavioral adjustment. However, very few studies have directly explored the neural correlates of postconflict/error behavioral adjustment. Here we employed an SST to elicit errors in approximately half of the stop trials despite constant behavioral adjustment of the observers. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, we showed that prefrontal loci including the ventrolateral prefrontal cortex are involved in post-error slowing in reaction time. These results delineate the neural circuitry specifically involved in error-associated behavioral modifications.

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