Neural circuitry for behavioural arrest

Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2017 Apr 19;372(1718):20160197. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2016.0197.


The ability to stop ongoing movement is fundamental to animal survival. Behavioural arrest involves the hierarchical integration of information throughout the forebrain, which ultimately leads to the coordinated inhibition and activation of specific brainstem motor centres. Recent advances have shed light on multiple regions and pathways involved in this critical behavioural process. Here, we synthesize these new findings together with previous work to build a more complete understanding of the circuit mechanisms underlying suppression of ongoing action. We focus on three specific conditions leading to behavioural arrest: goal completion, fear and startle. We outline the circuitry responsible for the production of these behaviours and discuss their dysfunction in neurological disease.This article is part of the themed issue 'Movement suppression: brain mechanisms for stopping and stillness'.

Keywords: action suppression; behavioural arrest; freezing; startle; stopping.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Fear*
  • Goals*
  • Humans
  • Inhibition, Psychological*
  • Movement*
  • Nervous System Diseases / etiology
  • Nervous System Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Neural Pathways
  • Reflex, Startle*