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The unpredictability of every-day life means that changing circumstances can render planned motor actions suddenly inappropriate. Response inhibition is the term we use for the ability to inhibit pre-planned or on-going motor action. We study how the brain is able to rapidly halt ongoing movements.

The unpredictability of every-day life means that changing circumstances can render planned motor actions suddenly inappropriate.  The ability to inhibit pre-planned or on-going motor action - known as response inhibition - is therefore essential for the normal control of movement.  Response inhibition is frequently tested in the laboratory using countermanding tasks that require participants to ‘stop’ an on-going ‘go’ response.  Functional imaging studies show that response inhibition activates areas of frontal cortex and the subthalamic nucleus (STN) of the basal ganglia.

The STN is a target for deep brain stimulation in people with Parkinson’s disease.  In collaboration with the Oxford functional Neurosurgery – led by Prof Tipu Aziz – we are able to record the electrical activity within the STN of patients as they perform response inhibition tasks.  We are also able to explore the consequences of stimulation of the STN on response inhibition. 

Collaborators:  Adam Aron, Tipu Aziz

Current Funders:  The National Institute of Health (USA)

Selected Publications

Brittain, J-S., Watkins, K.E., Joundi, R.A., Ray, N.J., Holland, P., Green, A.L., Aziz, T.Z., Jenkinson, N. A role for the subthalamic nucleus in response inhibition during conflict,(2012) Journal of Neuroscience, 32 (39), pp. 13396-13401.

Ray, N.J., Brittain, J-S., Holland, P., Joundi, R.A., Stein, J.F., Aziz, T.Z., Jenkinson, N. The role of the subthalamic nucleus in response inhibition: Evidence from local field potential recordings in the human subthalamic nucleus, (2012) NeuroImage, 60 (1), pp. 271-278.

Ray, N.J., Jenkinson, N., Brittain, J., Holland, P., Joint, C., Nandi, D., Bain, P.G., Yousif, N., Green, A., Stein, J.F., Aziz, T.Z. The role of the subthalamic nucleus in response inhibition: Evidence from deep brain stimulation for Parkinson's disease, (2009) Neuropsychologia, 47 (13), pp. 2828-2834.