The proactive self-control of actions: Time-course of underlying brain activities

V. Bianco, M. Berchicci, R. L. Perri, D. Spinelli, F. Di Russo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Proactive brain control optimizes upcoming actions and inhibits unwanted responses. In the present event-related potential (ERP) study, participants freely decided in advance whether to respond or not to an upcoming stimulus, then prepared or not the action according to their decision; finally, a stimulus was delivered, and subjects had to respond (or not). During the decision-making stage, a prefrontal negativity raised bilaterally in case no-response was decided, reflecting the first brain signal of proactive inhibition. Simultaneously, slow activity raised over premotor cortices independently from the decision taken, and then raised during the preparation phase only in the case of response decision (as a sort of accelerator). When the decision was not to respond, the prefrontal activity remained sustained (as a sort of brake) and showed a right-lateralized distribution during the preparation phase. Overall, we described the time-course of a proactive accelerating-braking system regulating self-control of actions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)388-393
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1 2017


  • BP
  • Decision making
  • ERP
  • PN
  • Proactive control
  • Self-control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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