Error-related brain activation during a Go/NoGo
response inhibition task

Introduction

Inhibitory control mechanisms are a critical component of the response selection processes that contribute to accurate performance.

Imaging/lesion studies show inferior frontal cortex plays a role in inhibiting inappropriate responses.

Brain areas involved in error processing and their relation to inhibiting responses is unknown.

Method

A random-effects model was used to investigate error-related brain activity associated with failure to inhibit responses to a Go-NoGo task.

To study the neural basis of response inhibition, 14 healthy adults (8 M/6 F, 17-41 years) performed a Go-NoGo task of responses to all letters except “X” during fMRI scanning.

Results 1

Activation superimposed on average T1-weighted images from 14 subjects.

Brain areas showing significantly greater activation during response inhibition and competition:

Bilateral activation:

  • Inferior frontal cortex, pars triangularis region.
  • Dorso-lateral prefrontal cortex.
  • Premotor cortex.
  • Inferior parietal lobe.
  • Lingual gyrus.
  • Caudate Right dorsal anterior cingulate cortex.

Results 2

 

Activation superimposed on average T1-weighted images from 14 subjects.

Brain areas showing significantly greater activation during response execution:

  • L inferior frontal cortex.
  • L posterior middle frontal gyrus
    supplementary motor area.
  • L, R premotor cortex.
  • R postcentral gyrus.
  • L superior and inferior parietal lobes.
  • L, R lingual gyrus (extending into the cerebellum and peristriate visual areas).

Conclusions

Findings show a distributed error processing system in the human brain that overlaps partially with brain regions involved in response inhibition and competition.

In particular, rostral anterior cingulate and posterior cingulate/precuneus as well as the left and right anterior insular cortex were activated only during error processing, but not during response competition, inhibition, selection, or execution.

Brain regions involved in the error processing system overlap with brain areas thought to be involved in the formulation and execution of articulatory plans.

Menon V, Adleman NE, White CD, Glover GH, Reiss AL. (2001). "Error-related brain activation during a Go/NoGo response inhibition task." Hum Brain Mapp 12(3), 131-143.  Abstract - PDF