Proactive Control Strategies for Overt and Covert Go/NoGo Tasks: An Electrical Neuroimaging Study

Monica Angelini, Marta Calbi, Annachiara Ferrari, Beatrice Sbriscia-Fioretti, Michele Franca, Vittorio Gallese, Maria Alessandra Umiltà, Lutz Jaencke
2016 PLoS ONE  
Proactive and reactive inhibition are generally intended as mechanisms allowing the withholding or suppression of overt movements. Nonetheless, inhibition could also play a pivotal role during covert actions (i.e., potential motor acts not overtly performed, despite the activation of the motor system), such as Motor Imagery (MI). In a previous EEG study, we analyzed cerebral activities reactively triggered during two cued Go/NoGo tasks, requiring execution or withholding of overt or covert
more » ... ned actions, respectively. This study revealed activation of pre-supplementary motor area (pre-SMA) and right inferior frontal gyrus (rIFG), key nodes of the network underpinning reactive inhibition of overt responses in NoGo trials, also during MI enactment, enabling the covert nature of the imagined motor response. Taking into account possible proactive engagement of inhibitory mechanisms by cue signals, for an exhaustive interpretation of these previous findings in the present study we analyzed EEG activities elicited during the preparatory phase of our cued overt and covert Go/NoGo tasks. Our results demonstrate a substantial overlap of cerebral areas activated during proactive recruitment and subsequent reactive implementation of motor inhibition in both overt and covert actions; also, different involvement of pre-SMA and rIFG emerged, in accord with the intended type (covert or overt) of incoming motor responses. During preparation of the overt Go/NoGo task, the cue is encoded in a pragmatic mode, as it primes the possible overt motor response programs in motor and premotor cortex and, through preactivation of a pre-SMA-related decisional mechanism, it triggers a parallel preparation for successful response selection and/or inhibition during the response phase. Conversely, the preparatory strategy for the covert Go/NoGo task is centered on priming of an inhibitory mechanism in rIFG, tuned to the instructed covert modality of motor performance and instantiated during subsequent MI, which allows the imagined response to remain a potential motor act.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0152188 pmid:27010832 pmcid:PMC4807103 fatcat:spvimj7uovg3pnzfdcgzzgllr4