Neural synchrony during response production and inhibition

Viktor Müller, Andrey P. Anokhin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

32 Scopus citations


Inhibition of irrelevant information (conflict monitoring) and/or of prepotent actions is an essential component of adaptive self-organized behavior. Neural dynamics underlying these functions has been studied in humans using event-related brain potentials (ERPs) elicited in Go/NoGo tasks that require a speeded motor response to the Go stimuli and withholding a prepotent response when a NoGo stimulus is presented. However, averaged ERP waveforms provide only limited information about the neuronal mechanisms underlying stimulus processing, motor preparation, and response production or inhibition. In this study, we examine the cortical representation of conflict monitoring and response inhibition using time-frequency analysis of electroencephalographic (EEG) recordings during continuous performance Go/NoGo task in 50 young adult females. We hypothesized that response inhibition would be associated with a transient boost in both temporal and spatial synchronization of prefrontal cortical activity, consistent with the role of the anterior cingulate and lateral prefrontal cortices in cognitive control. Overall, phase synchronization across trials measured by Phase Locking Index and phase synchronization between electrode sites measured by Phase Coherence were the highest in the Go and NoGo conditions, intermediate in the Warning condition, and the lowest under Neutral condition. The NoGo condition was characterized by significantly higher fronto-central synchronization in the 300-600 ms window, whereas in the Go condition, delta- and theta-band synchronization was higher in centro-parietal regions in the first 300 ms after the stimulus onset. The present findings suggest that response production and inhibition is supported by dynamic functional networks characterized by distinct patterns of temporal and spatial synchronization of brain oscillations.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere38931
JournalPloS one
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 20 2012

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