Mapping P300 waves onto inhibition: Go/NoGo discrimination

Larry E. Roberts, Harald Rau, Werner Lutzenberger, Niels Birbaumer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Subjects viewed letters presented at 2 sec intervals and prepared a fast button press whenever an "O" appeared. If the next letter was an "X" the button press was executed (Go signal), but if the letter was a non-X character (T, H, Z) suppression of the response was required (NoGo cue). NoGo signals elicited a P300-like wave that was larger at central and frontal scalp sites contralateral to the prepared movement, compared to P300s elicited by Go cues which were symmetric about the sagittal midline and dominant at parietal sites. Subtraction of preparatory CNVs from the NoGo P300 did not remove differences in scalp topography, or reduce the amplitude of the NoGo P300 to that seen following control letters that required perceptual identification but did not call for suppression of prepared motor responses. Principal components analysis identified a middle positive wave following X-alone control stimuli whose topography resembled the NoGo P300. These findings suggest that the source of augmented NoGo P300s is a generator involved with sensorimotor inhibition. We discuss the mechanism of P300 waves and evidence linking these waves with inhibition in other task arrangements.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)44-55
Number of pages12
JournalElectroencephalography and Clinical Neurophysiology - Evoked Potentials
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1994


  • Go/NoGo discrimination
  • P300 inhibition
  • P3a
  • P3b
  • Threshold regulation of EEG

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neuroscience(all)


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