Brain stimulation and inhibitory control

Brain Stimul. 2012 Apr;5(2):63-9. doi: 10.1016/j.brs.2012.03.012. Epub 2012 Apr 3.

Abstract

Inhibitory control mechanisms are important in a range of behaviours to prevent execution of motor acts which, having been planned, are no longer necessary or appropriate. Examples of this can be seen in a range of sports, such as cricket and baseball, where the choice between execution and inhibition of a bat swing must be made in a very brief time window. Deficits in inhibitory control have been associated with problems in behavioural regulation in impulsive violence as well as a range of clinical disorders. The roles of various areas, including the frontal eye fields (FEF), the pre-supplementary motor area (pre-SMA) and the inferior frontal gyrus, in inhibitory control have been investigated using an inhibitory control task and both transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS). Typically effects on response inhibition but no effects on response generation have been seen. The contributions of these areas to performance seem to differ with, for example, pre-SMA being involved when the task is relatively novel whereas this is not the case for FEF. The findings from brain stimulation studies offer both insight into which areas are necessary for effective inhibitory control and recent extension of findings for the role of the inferior frontal gyrus illustrate how the specific functions by which these areas contribute may be further clarified. Future work, including making use of the temporal specificity of TMS and combination of TMS/tDCS with other neuroimaging techniques, may further clarify the nature and functions played by the network of areas involved in inhibitory control.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Mapping / methods
  • Brain Mapping / psychology*
  • Electric Stimulation / methods
  • Frontal Lobe / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Inhibition, Psychological*
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology
  • Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation / methods
  • Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation / psychology