Response inhibition and interference monitoring and suppression are two important aspects of cognitive control. Previous functional imaging studies have suggested a common network of brain regions underlying these cognitive processes; the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), the ventrolateral prefrontal cortex (VLPFC), the dorsal cingulate (dACC), and the parietal cortex (PC). The relative contribution of these regions to these cognitive subprocesses, however, has not been determined. Based on previous findings supporting a role for dACC in the monitoring of conflicting information within a stimulus, we hypothesized greater activity in this cortical region during interference monitoring and suppression relative to response inhibition. On the other hand, as response inhibition is characterized by differential cognitive processes such as control implementation, top down modulation of the response, expectancy, and inhibition of behavioural response, we hypothesized increased activity in the other cortical nodes of the cognitive control network relative to interference monitoring and suppression. To this end, we conducted an event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study in 57 healthy volunteers using a task preferentially involving either interference monitoring and suppression or response inhibition. Accuracy for response inhibition was lower than for interference monitoring and suppression. Imaging data showed activation in DLPFC, dACC, VLPFC, PC for both conditions. Comparisons between the two conditions indicated greater activation bilaterally in DLPFC, VLPFC and PC during response inhibition, and greater activation in the dACC during interference monitoring and suppression. These results extend previous findings by suggesting regional functional specialization within a cortical network supporting cognitive control.
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