Inhibition and the right inferior frontal cortex: one decade on

Trends Cogn Sci. 2014 Apr;18(4):177-85. doi: 10.1016/j.tics.2013.12.003. Epub 2014 Jan 15.


In our TICS Review in 2004, we proposed that a sector of the right inferior frontal cortex (rIFC) in humans is critical for inhibiting response tendencies. Here we survey new evidence, discuss ongoing controversies, and provide an updated theory. We propose that the rIFC (along with one or more fronto-basal-ganglia networks) is best characterized as a brake. This brake can be turned on in different modes (totally, to outright suppress a response; or partially, to pause), and in different contexts (externally, by stop or salient signals; or internally, by goals). We affirm inhibition as a central component of executive control that relies upon the rIFC and associated networks, and explain why rIFC disruption could generally underpin response control disorders.

Keywords: braking; impulse control; prefrontal cortex; stopping.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Brain Waves / physiology
  • Disruptive, Impulse Control, and Conduct Disorders / pathology
  • Electroencephalography
  • Functional Laterality / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Inhibition, Psychological*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Oxygen / blood
  • Prefrontal Cortex / blood supply
  • Prefrontal Cortex / physiology*


  • Oxygen