Control processes underlying response inhibition were examined. Six Ss performed a visual choice reaction task and were occasionally presented with a tone that told them to withhold the response. Reaction time results were in agreement with a model that assumes a race between response activation and response inhibition processes. Event-related brain potentials, electromyogram, and continuous response measures showed that responses could be interrupted at any time. Evidence was obtained for two inhibitory mechanisms: inhibition of central activation processes and inhibition of transmission of motor commands from central to peripheral structures. Results have implications for the distinction between controlled and ballistic processes.
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