Response inhibition in the stop-signal paradigm

Trends Cogn Sci. 2008 Nov;12(11):418-24. doi: 10.1016/j.tics.2008.07.005.


Response inhibition is a hallmark of executive control. The concept refers to the suppression of actions that are no longer required or that are inappropriate, which supports flexible and goal-directed behavior in ever-changing environments. The stop-signal paradigm is most suitable for the study of response inhibition in a laboratory setting. The paradigm has become increasingly popular in cognitive psychology, cognitive neuroscience and psychopathology. We review recent findings in the stop-signal literature with the specific aim of demonstrating how each of these different fields contributes to a better understanding of the processes involved in inhibiting a response and monitoring stopping performance, and more generally, discovering how behavior is controlled.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Cognitive Science / methods*
  • Humans
  • Inhibition, Psychological*
  • Neuropsychological Tests*
  • Neurosciences / methods
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology*