Cortical potentials related to the nogo decision


The go/nogo reaction time task has been frequently used to assess volitional inhibition. Psychophysiological studies of the correlates of the go/nogo decision have almost exclusively been concerned with N2 and P3 potentials of the event-related potentials (ERPs). However, in studies where the EMG onset latency was available, it was obvious that this latency was shorter than or at least equal to the latencies of the studied cerebral potentials. In this study, by concurrent recording of the EEG and EMG activity we aimed to better define the temporal relationship between cortical activity and motor response. Particularly, we wanted to identify the early (i.e. pre EMG-onset) electrophysiological correlates of the nogo decision. We used a modified S1-S2 paradigm that involved a two-stage go/nogo decision. In this task both S1 and S2 were informative and required the subject to make a decision, but the nature of the decision differed. The decision at S1 involved whether to prepare a movement, whereas the decision at S2 involved whether to initiate or inhibit an already prepared response. To better visualise the nogo decision related components of the ERPs, the go ERPs were subtracted from the corresponding nogo ERPs and difference ERPs were formed. Before EMG onset, a small negative component common to both go/nogo difference traces and corresponding roughly with the N1 wave was detected. It is suggested that this early negativity may be a more specific electrophysiological reflection of the nogo decision proper.

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Filipović, S., Jahanshahi, M. & Rothwell, J. Cortical potentials related to the nogo decision. Exp Brain Res 132, 411–415 (2000).

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  • Nogo decision Event-related potentials