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Selective inhibitory control and the basal ganglia


In our everyday lives, inhibitory control, the ability to stop the actions we are engaged in, is crucial. Though much prior research has explored the neural basis of simple forms of inhibitory control (where an individual must simply stop all initiated actions, for instance), more complex forms of inhibitory control are often necessary. For instance, an individual engaged with her environment might need to selectively stop only one particular action while continuing others without interference. Here, inhibitory control is selective. Using a number of experimental methods - including single-pulse transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), structural and function magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and the study of individuals with premanifest Huntington's disease (preHD) - I present evidence that the neural pathways that underlie selective inhibitory control require signaling through basal ganglia nodes such as the striatum and thus are distinct from those that underlie simple inhibitory control, which does not require the striatum. I first show evidence with TMS that selective inhibitory control is not associated with the "global" motor suppressive side effect commonly associated with simple inhibitory control. I further show functional evidence of striatal involvement in both preparation for and execution of selective inhibitory control. After showing that basal ganglia damage in preHD is specific for basal ganglia nodes such as the striatum, I show that both preparation for and execution of selective inhibitory control are impaired in preHD compared to controls. Lastly, I present a novel methodology by which selective inhibitory control might be trained through real-time feedback

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