Dopamine and inhibitory action control: evidence from spontaneous eye blink rates

Exp Brain Res. 2009 Jul;196(3):467-74. doi: 10.1007/s00221-009-1862-x. Epub 2009 May 31.


The inhibitory control of actions has been claimed to rely on dopaminergic pathways. Given that this hypothesis is mainly based on patient and drug studies, some authors have questioned its validity and suggested that beneficial effects of dopaminergic stimulants on response inhibition may be limited to cases of suboptimal inhibitory functioning. We present evidence that, in carefully selected healthy adults, spontaneous eyeblink rate, a marker of central dopaminergic functioning, reliably predicts the efficiency in inhibiting unwanted action tendencies in a stop-signal task. These findings support the assumption of a modulatory role for dopamine in inhibitory action control.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blinking / physiology*
  • Dopamine*
  • Electrooculography / methods
  • Eye Movements / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inhibition, Psychological*
  • Male
  • Models, Biological
  • Photic Stimulation / methods
  • Reaction Time / physiology
  • Time Factors
  • Young Adult


  • Dopamine