Conflict and inhibition differentially affect the N200/P300 complex in a combined go/nogo and stop-signal task

Neuroimage. 2010 Jun;51(2):877-87. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2010.02.043. Epub 2010 Feb 24.


Conflict and inhibition are considered to exert strong influences on the neurophysiological N200 and P300 brain responses as evoked in go/nogo and stop-signal tasks. In order to separate their underlying neural and functional mechanisms, the current experiment manipulated both conflict and inhibition. To do so, the go/nogo and stop-signal tasks were merged into one paradigm. Conflict was manipulated by varying go-trial frequencies across blocks (75% vs. 25%). Motor inhibition was manipulated by using go, nogo and stop trials each representing a different load of inhibition. Event-related potentials (ERPs) as well as current density reconstructions (CDRs) of fifteen healthy participants were analyzed. Overall, infrequent trials evoked significantly more pronounced N200s than frequent trials. The P300 predominantly revealed significant variations between trial types (go, nogo, stop). Estimated source activations of the MCC and the IFC supported the ERP results; N200-related effects were revealed in both regions, whereas the condition-specific variations of the P300 were only observed in the IFC. The results indicate that the N200 primarily reflects conflict-related effects whereas the P300 predominantly represents motor inhibition.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Conflict, Psychological*
  • Event-Related Potentials, P300 / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted
  • Inhibition, Psychological*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology
  • Reaction Time