The presence of visual gap affects the duration of stopping process

Giovanni Mirabella, Pierpaolo Pani, Stefano Ferraina

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A milestone on which relies the voluntary control of behavior is the ability to shape our motor output to meet the needs of the context which we are continuously facing. Even though it is solidly established that contextual information influence movement generation few studies have so far explored their effects on inhibitory processes. We compared the inhibitory control of arm movements of ten healthy right-handed volunteers in a countermanding reaching paradigm with and without the presence of a temporal gap between the offset of the central target and the peripheral target appearance. We found that this perceptual gap reduces the reaction times of hand movements and, at the same time, increases the duration of the stop process, the stop signal reaction time. The two effects are not correlated implying that inhibition and execution of reaching movement are two independent processes influenced by a common factor: the disengagement of selective attention from the central target. Therefore our results support the idea of the existence of a link between spatial selective attention and inhibitory processes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)199-209
Number of pages11
JournalExperimental Brain Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2009


  • Arm
  • Countermanding task
  • Inhibition
  • Reaching
  • Visual gap

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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