Segregating attention from response control when performing a motor inhibition task

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Abstract

Considerable work has demonstrated that inferior frontal gyrus (IFG), anterior insula cortex (AIC) and the supplementary motor area (SMA) are responsive during inhibitory control tasks. However, there is disagreement as to whether this relates to response selection/ inhibition or attentional processing. The current study investigates this by using a Go/No-go task with a factorial design. We observed that both left IFG and dorsal pre-SMA were responsive to no-go cues irrespective of cue frequency. This suggests a role for both in the inhibition of motor responses. Generalized psychophysiological interaction (gPPI) analyses suggest that inferior frontal gyrus may implement this function through interaction with basal ganglia and by suppressing the visual representation of cues associated with no-go responses. Anterior insula cortex and a more ventral portion of pre-SMA showed greater responsiveness to low frequency relative to higher frequency stimuli, irrespective of response type. This may reflect the hypothesized role of anterior insula cortex in marking low frequency items for additional processing (cf. Menon and Uddin, 2010). Consistent with this, the gPPI analysis revealed significantly greater anterior insula cortex connectivity with visual cortex in response to low relative to high frequency cues.

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