Post-stop-signal adjustments: inhibition improves subsequent inhibition

J Exp Psychol Learn Mem Cogn. 2012 Jul;38(4):955-66. doi: 10.1037/a0026778. Epub 2012 Jan 23.


Performance in the stop-signal paradigm involves a balance between going and stopping, and one way that this balance is struck is through shifting priority away from the go task, slowing responses after a stop signal, and improving the probability of inhibition. In 6 experiments, the authors tested whether there is a corresponding shift in priority toward the stop task, speeding reaction time to the stop signal. Consistent with this hypothesis, stop-signal reaction time (SSRT) decreased on the trial immediately following a stop signal in each experiment. Experiments 2-4 used 2 very different stop signals within a modality, and stopping improved when the stop stimulus repeated and alternated. Experiments 5 and 6 presented stop signals in different modalities and showed that SSRT improved only when the stop stimulus repeated within a modality. These results demonstrate within-modality post-stop-signal speeding of response inhibition.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Attention*
  • Choice Behavior
  • Cognition*
  • Executive Function
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inhibition, Psychological*
  • Male
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Reaction Time