Topography and timing of activity in right inferior frontal cortex and anterior insula for stopping movement

Hum Brain Mapp. 2018 Jan;39(1):189-203. doi: 10.1002/hbm.23835. Epub 2017 Oct 11.


Stopping incipient action activates both the right inferior frontal cortex (rIFC) and the anterior insula (rAI). Controversy has arisen as to whether these comprise a unitary cortical cluster-the rIFC/rAI-or whether rIFC is the primary stopping locus. To address this, we recorded directly from these structures while taking advantage of the high spatiotemporal resolution of closely spaced stereo-electro-encephalographic (SEEG) electrodes. We studied 12 patients performing a stop-signal task. On each trial they initiated a motor response (Go) and tried to stop to an occasional stop signal. Both the rIFC and rAI exhibited an increase in broadband gamma activity (BGA) after the stop signal and within the time of stopping (stop signal reaction time, SSRT), regardless of the success of stopping. The proportion of electrodes with this response was significantly greater in the rIFC than the rAI. Also, the rIFC response preceded that in the rAI. Last, while the BGA increase in rIFC occurred mainly prior to SSRT, the rAI showed a sustained increase in the beta and low gamma bands after the SSRT. In summary, the rIFC was activated soon after the stop signal, prior to and more robustly than the rAI, which on the other hand, showed a more prolonged response after the onset of stopping. Our results are most compatible with the notion that the rIFC is involved in triggering outright stopping in concert with a wider network, while the rAI is likely engaged by other processes, such as arousal, saliency, or behavioral adjustments. Hum Brain Mapp 39:189-203, 2018. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Keywords: electrocorticography; frontal lobe; humans; inhibition (psychology).

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain Waves
  • Drug Resistant Epilepsy / physiopathology
  • Electrocorticography
  • Female
  • Frontal Lobe / physiology*
  • Frontal Lobe / physiopathology
  • Functional Laterality / physiology
  • Humans
  • Inhibition, Psychological*
  • Male
  • Motor Activity / physiology*
  • Time Factors