Dissociable yet tied inhibitory processes: The structure of inhibitory control
2014
Cognitive, Affective and Behavioral Neuroscience
Epub
Authors: 
Michael G.A.
MIzzi R.
Couffe C.
Galvez-Garcia G.

Cognitive and neural models have proposed the existence of a single inhibitory process that regulates behavior and depends on the right frontal operculum (rFO). The aim of this study was to make a contribution to the ongoing debate as to whether inhibition is a single process or is composed of multiple, independent processes. Here, within a single paradigm, we assessed the links between two inhibitory phenomena-namely, resistance to involuntary visual capture by abrupt onsets and resolving of spatial stimulus-response conflict. We did so by conducting three experiments, two involving healthy volunteers (Exps. 1 and 3), and one with the help of a well-documented patient, R.J., with selectively weakened inhibition following a lesion of the rFO. The results suggest that resistance to capture and stimulus-response conflict are independent, because (a) additive effects were found (Exps. 1 and 3), (b) capture did not correlate with compatibility effects (Exp. 1), (c) dual tasking affected the two phenomena differently (Exp. 3), and (d) a dissociation was found between the two in patient R.J. (Exp. 2). However, the results also show that these two phenomena may share some processing components, given that (a) both were affected in patient R.J., but to different degrees (Exp. 2), and (b) increasing the difficulty of dual tasking produced an increasingly negative correlation between capture and compatibility (Exp. 3), which suggests that when resources are withdrawn from the control of the former, they are used to control the latter.