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Cogn Affect Behav Neurosci. 2009 Dec;9(4):448-58. doi: 10.3758/CABN.9.4.448.

P50 sensory gating is related to performance on select tasks of cognitive inhibition.

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Colorado State University, Fort Collins, 80521, USA.


P50 suppression deficits have been documented in clinical and nonclinical populations, but the behavioral correlates of impaired auditory sensory gating remain poorly understood. In the present study, we examined the relationship between P50 gating and healthy adults' performance on cognitive inhibition tasks. On the basis of load theory (Lavie, Hirst, de Fockert, & Viding, 2004), we predicted that a high perceptual load, a possible consequence of poor auditory P50 sensory gating, would have differential (i.e., positive vs. negative) effects on performance of cognitive inhibition tasks. A dissociation was observed such that P50 gating was negatively related to interference resolution on a Stroop task and positively related to response inhibition on a go/no-go task. Our findings support the idea that a high perceptual load may be beneficial to Stroop performance because of the reduced processing of distractors but detrimental to performance on the go/no-go task because of interference with stimulus discrimination.

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