Resisting recently acted-on cues: Compatibility of Go/NoGo responses to response history modulates (frontal P3) event-related potentials


  • This work was facilitated by the research assistance of Steve Berry and Anne Katz and by the highly constructive comments of action editor Ray Johnson and three anonymous reviewers. Portions of this work were presented at the Ninth Annual Meeting of the International Cognitive Neuroscience Society (ICON 9), Havana, Cuba, September, 2005.

Address reprint requests to: Antonio L. Freitas, Department of Psychology, State University of New York, Stony Brook, NY 11794-2500, USA. E-mail:


Using event-related potentials to investigate compatibility between past and present cue–response interactions, an experiment combined elements of selective-attention and Go/NoGo tasks. In the selective-attention part of each trial, participants responded to one of two visible numerical digits. Immediately afterward, in the Go/NoGo part of each trial, one of the same two digits appeared, with participants required to press the corresponding key on Go trials and to withhold responding on NoGo trials. Higher-amplitude anterior P3 responses on NoGo than on Go trials emerged when participants withheld responding to a recently selected cue but were greatly diminished when participants withheld responding to a recently ignored cue. The findings suggest that episodic traces of past Go/NoGo responses guide future action decisions, such that increased response control is needed to overcome bias to respond to recently acted-on NoGo cues.