Proactive motor inhibition refers to endogenous preparatory mechanisms facilitating action inhibition, whereas reactive motor inhibition is considered to be a sudden stopping process triggered by external signals. Previous studies were inconclusive about the temporal dynamics of involved neurocognitive processes during proactive and reactive motor control. Using electroencephalography (EEG), we investigated the time-course of proactive and reactive inhibition, measuring event-related oscillations and event-related potentials (ERPs). Participants performed in a cued go/nogo paradigm with cues indicating whether the motor response might or might not have to be inhibited. Based on the dual mechanisms of control (DMC) framework by Braver, we investigated the role of attentional effects, motor preparation in the sensorimotor cortex and prefrontal cognitive control mechanisms, separating effects before and after target onset. In the cue-target interval, proactive motor inhibition was associated with increased attention, reflected in reduced visual alpha power and an increased contingent negative variation (CNV). At the same time, motor inhibition was modulated by reduced sensorimotor beta power. After target onset, proactive inhibition resulted in an increased N1, indicating allocation of attention towards relevant stimuli, increased prefrontal beta power and a modulation of sensorimotor mu activity. As in previous studies, reactive stopping of motor actions was associated with increased prefrontal beta power and increased sensorimotor beta activity. The results stress the relevance of attentional mechanisms for proactive inhibition and speak for different neurocognitive mechanisms being involved in the early preparation for and in later implementation of motor inhibition.
Research Areas and Centers
- Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)