Meta-analytic evidence for a joint neural mechanism underlying response inhibition and state anger

Hum Brain Mapp. 2020 Aug 1;41(11):3147-3160. doi: 10.1002/hbm.25004. Epub 2020 Apr 21.


Although anger may weaken response inhibition (RI) by allowing outbursts to bypass deliberate processing, it is equally likely that RI deficits precipitate a state of anger (SA). In adolescents, for instance, anger occurs more frequently and often leads to escalating aggressive behaviors. Even though RI is considered a key component in explaining individual differences in SA expression, the neural overlap between SA and RI remains elusive. Here, we aimed to meta-analytically revisit and update the neural correlates of motor RI, to determine a consistent neural architecture of SA, and to identify their joint neural network. Considering that inhibitory abilities follow a protracted maturation until early adulthood, we additionally computed RI meta-analyses in youths and adults. Using activation likelihood estimation, we calculated twelve meta-analyses across 157 RI and 39 SA experiments on healthy individuals. Consistent with previous findings, RI was associated with a broad frontoparietal network including the anterior insula/inferior frontal gyrus (aI/IFG), premotor and midcingulate cortices, extending into right temporoparietal areas. Youths showed convergent activity in right midcingulate and medial prefrontal areas, left aI/IFG, and the temporal poles. SA, on the other hand, reliably recruited the right aI/IFG and anterior cingulate cortex. Conjunction analyses between RI and SA yielded a single convergence cluster in the right aI/IFG. While frontoparietal networks and bilateral aI are ubiquitously recruited during RI, the right aI/IFG cluster likely represents a node in a dynamically-adjusting monitoring network that integrates salient information thereby facilitating the execution of goal-directed behaviors under highly unpredictable scenarios.

Keywords: activation likelihood meta-analysis; anterior insula, inferior frontal gyrus; frontoparietal; monitoring network; response inhibition; state anger; temporoparietal.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anger / physiology*
  • Cerebral Cortex / diagnostic imaging
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology*
  • Child
  • Executive Function / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Inhibition, Psychological*
  • Motor Activity / physiology*
  • Nerve Net / diagnostic imaging
  • Nerve Net / physiology*
  • Young Adult