Meta-analysis of Go/No-go tasks demonstrating that fMRI activation associated with response inhibition is task-dependent

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FMRI studies of response inhibition consistently reveal frontal lobe activation. Localization within the frontal cortex, however, varies across studies and appears dependent on the nature of the task. Activation likelihood estimate (ALE) meta-analysis is a powerful quantitative method of establishing concurrence of activation across functional neuroimaging studies. For this study, ALE was used to investigate concurrent neural correlates of successfully inhibited No-go stimuli across studies of healthy adults performing a Go/No-go task, a paradigm frequently used to measure response inhibition. Due to the potential overlap of neural circuits for response selection and response inhibition, the analysis included only event-related studies contrasting No-go activation with baseline, which allowed for inclusion of all regions that may be critical to visually guided motor response inhibition, including those involved in response selection. These Go/No-go studies were then divided into two groups: "simple" Go/No-go tasks in which the No-go stimulus was always the same, and "complex" Go/No-go tasks, in which the No-go stimulus changed depending on context, requiring frequent updating of stimulus-response associations in working memory. The simple and complex tasks demonstrated distinct patterns of concurrence, with right dorsolateral prefrontal and inferior parietal circuits recruited under conditions of increased working memory demand. Common to both simple and complex Go/No-go tasks was concurrence in the pre-SMA and the left fusiform gyrus. As the pre-SMA has also been shown to be involved in response selection, the results support the notion that the pre-SMA is critical for selection of appropriate behavior, whether selecting to execute an appropriate response or selecting to inhibit an inappropriate response.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)224-232
Number of pages9
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2008


  • ALE
  • Activation likelihood estimate
  • Pre-SMA
  • Response selection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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