Abstract

In the course of daily living, humans frequently encounter situations in which a motor activity, once initiated, becomes unnecessary or inappropriate. Under such circumstances, the ability to inhibit motor responses can be of vital importance. Although the nature of response inhibition has been studied in psychology for several decades, its neural basis remains unclear. Using transcranial magnetic stimulation, we found that temporary deactivation of the pars opercularis in the right inferior frontal gyrus selectively impairs the ability to stop an initiated action. Critically, deactivation of the same region did not affect the ability to execute responses, nor did it influence physiological arousal. These findings confirm and extend recent reports that the inferior frontal gyrus is vital for mediating response inhibition.

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