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There is no free won't: antecedent brain activity predicts decisions to inhibit.

Filevich, E; Kühn, S; Haggard, P; (2013) There is no free won't: antecedent brain activity predicts decisions to inhibit. PLoS One , 8 (2) , Article e53053. 10.1371/journal.pone.0053053. Green open access

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Abstract

Inhibition of prepotent action is an important aspect of self-control, particularly in social contexts. Action inhibition and its neural bases have been extensively studied. However, the neural precursors of free decisions to inhibit have hardly been studied. We asked participants to freely choose to either make a rapid key press in response to a visual cue, or to transiently inhibit action, and briefly delay responding. The task required a behavioural response on each trial, so trials involving inhibition could be distinguished from those without inhibition as those showing slower reaction times. We used this criterion to classify free-choice trials as either rapid or inhibited/delayed. For 13 participants, we measured the mean amplitude of the ERP activity at electrode Cz in three subsequent 50 ms time windows prior to the onset of the signal that either instructed to respond or inhibit, or gave participants a free choice. In two of these 50 ms time windows (-150 to -100, and -100 to -50 ms relative to action onset), the amplitude of prestimulus ERP differed between trials where participants "freely" chose whether to inhibit or to respond rapidly. Larger prestimulus ERP amplitudes were associated with trials in which participants decided to act rapidly as compared to trials in which they decided to delay their responses. Last-moment decisions to inhibit or delay may depend on unconscious preparatory neural activity.

Type: Article
Title: There is no free won't: antecedent brain activity predicts decisions to inhibit.
Location: United States
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0053053
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0053053
Language: English
Additional information: © 2013 Filevich et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. PMCID: PMC3572111
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1389257
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