Cue- versus response-locked processes in backward inhibition: Evidence from ERPs

Authors

  • Marco Sinai,

    1. Department of Psychology/Centre for Research in Human Development, Concordia University, Montreal, Québec, Canada
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Philippe Goffaux,

    1. Department of Psychology/Centre for Research in Human Development, Concordia University, Montreal, Québec, Canada
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Natalie A. Phillips

    1. Department of Psychology/Centre for Research in Human Development, Concordia University, Montreal, Québec, Canada
    2. Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research/Jewish General Hospital, Montreal, Québec, Canada
    Search for more papers by this author

  • A portion of these data was reported previously at the 16th Annual Meeting of the Canadian Society of Brain, Behaviour, and Cognitive Science, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, June 22–24, 2006. This study was supported by a grant awarded to N.A. Phillips from NSERC (Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada). We thank S. Gagnon for her assistance in subject testing, data processing, and graphical processing. We are grateful to our study participants for their time and effort.

Address reprint requests to: Natalie A. Phillips, Ph.D., Centre for Research in Human Development, Department of Psychology, Concordia University, 7141 Sherbrooke Street West, Montréal, Québec, H4B 1R6, Canada. E-mail: Natalie.Phillips@concordia.ca

Abstract

A task set may need to be inhibited to facilitate the switch to another task. This event-related potential (ERP) study determined (1) whether backward inhibition (BI) is exerted preferentially in high interference environments, and (2) whether ERPs locked to critical time points reflect BI during cue preparation and/or response stages. High interference (HI) and low interference (LI) were created by manipulating task difficulty. A reaction time (RT) BI effect (i.e., BI>control trials) was shown only during HI tasks. Cue-locked ERPs on LI tasks suggest increased attentional resources were allocated during the reactivation of a recently inhibited task. For HI tasks, BI versus control trial differences were reflected in a response-locked ERP negativity only after response selection (indexed by the response-locked lateralized readiness potential), indicating that BI is a lateral inhibition mechanism exerted during response preparation.

Ancillary