In search of the point of no return: the control of response processes

J Exp Psychol Hum Percept Perform. 1990 Feb;16(1):164-182. doi: 10.1037/0096-1523.16.1.164.


Control processes underlying response inhibition were examined. Six Ss performed a visual choice reaction task and were occasionally presented with a tone that told them to withhold the response. Reaction time results were in agreement with a model that assumes a race between response activation and response inhibition processes. Event-related brain potentials, electromyogram, and continuous response measures showed that responses could be interrupted at any time. Evidence was obtained for two inhibitory mechanisms: inhibition of central activation processes and inhibition of transmission of motor commands from central to peripheral structures. Results have implications for the distinction between controlled and ballistic processes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Arousal*
  • Attention*
  • Electroencephalography
  • Electromyography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Psychomotor Performance*
  • Reaction Time*
  • Set, Psychology