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J Cogn Neurosci. 2014 Aug;26(8):1601-14. doi: 10.1162/jocn_a_00567. Epub 2014 Jan 9.

Decomposing decision components in the stop-signal task: a model-based approach to individual differences in inhibitory control.

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Syracuse University, NY.


The stop-signal task, in which participants must inhibit prepotent responses, has been used to identify neural systems that vary with individual differences in inhibitory control. To explore how these differences relate to other aspects of decision making, a drift-diffusion model of simple decisions was fitted to stop-signal task data from go trials to extract measures of caution, motor execution time, and stimulus processing speed for each of 123 participants. These values were used to probe fMRI data to explore individual differences in neural activation. Faster processing of the go stimulus correlated with greater activation in the right frontal pole for both go and stop trials. On stop trials, stimulus processing speed also correlated with regions implicated in inhibitory control, including the right inferior frontal gyrus, medial frontal gyrus, and BG. Individual differences in motor execution time correlated with activation of the right parietal cortex. These findings suggest a robust relationship between the speed of stimulus processing and inhibitory processing at the neural level. This model-based approach provides novel insight into the interrelationships among decision components involved in inhibitory control and raises interesting questions about strategic adjustments in performance and inhibitory deficits associated with psychopathology.

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