Encyclopedia of Psychopharmacology

2010 Edition
| Editors: Ian P. Stolerman

Stop-Signal Task

  • Sharon Morein-Zamir
  • Barbara J. Sahakian
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-540-68706-1_1120



A neurocognitive task designed to provide a sensitive measure of the time taken by the brain to inhibit or suppress inappropriate motor responses. The stop-signal paradigm was originally developed by Gordon Logan in the 1980s, based on a cognitive task first used by Lappin and Erikson in 1966. Versions of the task have been developed both for humans and rats. The stop-signal reaction time (SSRT) task not only provides measures of reaction times and accuracy, but importantly also the latency to inhibit a prepotent response (SSRT). The stopping process is not directly observable and has to be estimated from a stochastic model, the so-called “race model.” The model derives the SSRT from the distribution of “go” reaction times and the observed probability of responding on “stop” trials for a given stop-signal delay. The estimated SSRT gives a measure of the duration of the inhibitory process, which starts from the presentation of stop...

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sharon Morein-Zamir
    • 1
    • 2
  • Barbara J. Sahakian
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of Cambridge School of Clinical MedicineCambridgeUK
  2. 2.MRC/Wellcome Trust, Behavioural and Clinical Neuroscience InstituteUniversity of Cambridge, Addenbrookes HospitalCambridgeUK
  3. 3.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUK and
  4. 4.Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical EthicsOxfordUK