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Stop-signal inhibition disrupted by damage to right inferior frontal gyrus in humans

An Erratum to this article was published on 01 December 2003


The precise localization of executive functions such as response inhibition within the prefrontal cortex (PFC), although theoretically crucial, has proven to be controversial and difficult1. Functional neuroimaging has contributed importantly to this debate1,2,3,4,5,6,7, but as human cortical lesions are seldom discrete, the literature still lacks definitive neuropsychological evidence that a specific region is necessary for task performance. We overcame this limitation by using a new observer-independent method to relate the degree of damage within a specific prefrontal region to performance on a stop-signal task that is sensitive to the neurodevelopmental aspects of stopping behavior2 and to attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) as well as its amelioration by methylphenidate5,8.

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Figure 1: Voxels activated by response inhibition in neuroimaging studies, and region of interest (ROI) approach of current study.
Figure 2: Race-model estimation of SSRT10.
Figure 3: Correlations between SSRT (ms) and the volume of damage to each region of interest (SFG, IFG, MFG, ORB, MED and pars triangularis, cm3) for 18 patients.


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Patients were studied through the CCNRP, Cambridge, UK with thanks to N. Antoun. The interleaved staircases variant of the stop-signal test was developed through a Stroke Association (UK) grant to S. Monsell and I. Robertson. This work was supported by a MRC studentship to A.R.A. and a Wellcome Trust Programme Grant to B.J.S. and T.W.R. within the MRC Centre for Behavioural and Clinical Neuroscience.

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Correspondence to Trevor W. Robbins.

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Aron, A., Fletcher, P., Bullmore, E. et al. Stop-signal inhibition disrupted by damage to right inferior frontal gyrus in humans. Nat Neurosci 6, 115–116 (2003).

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