Regional gray and white matter volume associated with Stroop interference: evidence from voxel-based morphometry

Neuroimage. 2012 Feb 1;59(3):2899-907. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2011.09.064. Epub 2011 Oct 1.


During Stroop tasks, subjects experience cognitive interference when they resolve interferences such as identifying the ink color of a printed word while ignoring the word's identity. Stroop paradigms are commonly used as an index of attention deficits and a tool for investigating the functions of the frontal lobes and other associated structures. Despite these uses and the vast amount of attention given to Stroop paradigms, the regional gray matter volume/regional white matter volume (rGMV/rWMV) correlates of Stroop interference have not yet been identified at the whole brain level in normal adults. We examined this issue using voxel-based morphometry in right-handed healthy young adults. We found significant negative relationships between the Stroop interference rate and rGMV in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), right inferior frontal gyrus, and cerebellum. Furthermore, we found relationships between the Stroop interference rate and rWMV in bilateral anatomical clusters that extended around extensive WM regions in the dorsal part of the frontal lobe. These findings are the first to reveal rGMV/rWMV that underlie the performance of the Stroop task, a widely used psychological paradigm at the whole brain level. Of note, our findings support the notion that ACC contributes to Stroop performance and show the involvement of regions that have been implicated in response inhibition and attention.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Brain / anatomy & histology
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Individuality
  • Intelligence Tests
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology
  • Regression Analysis
  • Stroop Test*
  • Young Adult