Evidence for non-selective response inhibition in uncertain contexts revealed by combined meta-analysis and Bayesian analysis of fMRI data

Sci Rep. 2022 Jun 16;12(1):10137. doi: 10.1038/s41598-022-14221-x.


Response inhibition is typically considered a brain mechanism selectively triggered by particular "inhibitory" stimuli or events. Based on recent research, an alternative non-selective mechanism was proposed by several authors. Presumably, the inhibitory brain activity may be triggered not only by the presentation of "inhibitory" stimuli but also by any imperative stimuli, including Go stimuli, when the context is uncertain. Earlier support for this notion was mainly based on the absence of a significant difference between neural activity evoked by equiprobable Go and NoGo stimuli. Equiprobable Go/NoGo design with a simple response time task limits potential confounds between response inhibition and accompanying cognitive processes while not preventing prepotent automaticity. However, previous neuroimaging studies used classical null hypothesis significance testing, making it impossible to accept the null hypothesis. Therefore, the current research aimed to provide evidence for the practical equivalence of neuronal activity in the Go and NoGo trials using Bayesian analysis of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data. Thirty-four healthy participants performed a cued Go/NoGo task with an equiprobable presentation of Go and NoGo stimuli. To independently localize brain areas associated with response inhibition in similar experimental conditions, we performed a meta-analysis of fMRI studies using equal-probability Go/NoGo tasks. As a result, we observed overlap between response inhibition areas and areas that demonstrate the practical equivalence of neuronal activity located in the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, parietal cortex, premotor cortex, and left inferior frontal gyrus. Thus, obtained results favour the existence of non-selective response inhibition, which can act in settings of contextual uncertainty induced by the equal probability of Go and NoGo stimuli.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Bayes Theorem
  • Brain Mapping
  • Electroencephalography
  • Evoked Potentials / physiology
  • Humans
  • Inhibition, Psychological*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology
  • Reaction Time / physiology
  • Uncertainty