Tracking markers of response inhibition in electroencephalographic data: Why should we and how can we go beyond the N2 component?

  • Albares M
  • Lio G
  • Boulinguez P
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Response inhibition is a pivotal component of executive control, which is especially difficult to assess. Indeed, it is a substantial challenge to gauge brain-behavior relationships because this function is precisely intended to suppress overt measurable behaviors. A further complication is that no single neuroimaging method has been found that can disentangle the accurate time-course of concurrent excitatory and inhibitory mechanisms. Here, we argue that this objective can be achieved with electroencephalography (EEG) on some conditions. Based on a systematic review, we emphasize that the standard event-related potential N2 (N200) is not an appropriate marker of prepotent response inhibition. We provide guidelines for assessing the cortical brain dynamics of response inhibition with EEG. This includes the combined use of inseparable data processing steps (source separation, source localization, and single-trial and time-frequency analyses) as well as the amendment of the classical experimental designs to enable the recording of different kinds of electrophysiological activity predicted by different models of response inhibition. We conclude with an illustration based on recent findings of how fruitful this approach can be.

Author-supplied keywords

  • attention
  • response inhibition
  • source localization
  • source separation
  • time-frequency analyses

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