Response inhibition refers to the suppression of actions that are inappropriate in a given context and that interfere with goal-driven behavior. Studies using a range of methodological approaches have implicated executive control processes mediated by frontal-subcortical circuits as being critical to response inhibition; however, localization within the frontal lobe has been inconsistent. In this review, we present evidence from behavioral, lesion, neuroimaging, electrophysiology, and neurological population studies. The findings lay the foundation for a construct in which response inhibition is akin to response selection, such that pre-SMA circuits are critical to selection of appropriate behavior, including both selecting to engage appropriate motor responses and selecting to withhold (inhibit) inappropriate motor responses. Recruitment of additional prefrontal and posterior cortical circuits, necessary to guide response selection, varies depending on the cognitive and behavioral demands of the task.

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