Inhibiting prepared and ongoing responses: is there more than one kind of stopping?


Inhibiting movements has been investigated widely using the countermanding (stop signal) paradigm. Although it has been assumed that response inhibition, as measured by the countermanding task, generalizes to all forms of stopping, this has never been tested. In the present study, stopping performance in the countermanding paradigm was compared with stopping performance in a new paradigm in which a continuous-tracking task was used. Although stimulus presentations were matched across paradigms, the two tasks differed in the type of stopping required. In the countermanding paradigm, response inhibition latency was measured prior to response execution-this is, it was inferred from the successful withholding of a go response. In the new paradigm, response inhibition was carried out after response execution-that is, it was measured as the time to begin stopping a continuous tracking response. Results indicated that stopping latencies between the two paradigms were highly correlated, providing strong evidence that stopping an unexecuted response engages the same mechanisms as stopping an ongoing response.