Proactive interference (PI), which is formed through repetition of certain behavior and lasts for a while, needs to be inhibited in order for subsequent behavior to prevail over the antecedent one. Although the inhibitory mechanisms in the pFC have been reported that are recruited long after one behavior is updated to another, very little is known about the inhibitory mechanisms that are recruited immediately after the update. The WCST was modified in the present fMRI study such that inhibition of PI could be examined both immediately after and long after update of behavior. Use of “dual-match” stimuli allowed us to compare two types of trials where inhibition of PI was and was not required (control and release trials, respectively). Significant activation was observed in the left pre-SMA during control versus release trials. The pre-SMA activation was selective to PI inhibition required immediately after update of behavior, which exhibited marked contrast to the left anterior prefrontal activation selective to PI inhibition required long after the update. These results reveal dissociable inhibitory mechanisms in these two regions that are recruited in the different temporal contexts of the inhibitory demands imposed during performance of the task.

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