Contiguity of proactive and reactive inhibitory brain areas: a cognitive model based on ALE meta-analyses

Brain Imaging Behav. 2021 Aug;15(4):2199-2214. doi: 10.1007/s11682-020-00369-5.


Cognitive control is a critical feature in adapting our behavior to environmental and internal demands with two types of inhibition having been identified, namely the proactive and the reactive. Aiming to shed light on their respective neural correlates, we decided to focus on the cerebral activity before or after presentation of the target demanding a subject's stop as a way to separate the proactive from the reactive components associated with the tasks. Accordingly, we performed three Activation Likelihood Estimation (ALE) meta-analyses of fMRI studies exploring proactive and reactive inhibitory phases of cognitive control. For this purpose, we searched for fMRI studies investigating brain activity preceding or following target stimuli. Eight studies (291 subjects, 101 foci) were identified for the proactive analysis. Five of these studies and those previously analyzed by others (348 subjects, 199 foci) were meta-analyzed to explore the neural correlates of reactive inhibition. Overall, our results showed different networks for the two inhibitory components. Notably, we observed a contiguity between areas in the right inferior frontal gyrus pertaining to proactive inhibition and in the right middle frontal gyrus regarding reactive inhibition. These neural correlates allow proposal of a new comprehensive model of cognitive control.

Keywords: Cognitive control; Meta-analysis; Proactive inhibition; Right inferior frontal Gyrus; Right middle frontal Gyrus.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Cognition
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Reactive Inhibition*