- Networks of action control
- Award date
- 11 February 2014
- Document type
- PhD thesis
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Psychology Research Institute (PsyRes)
Every day regions within our brain facilitate us to deliberately select or inhibit planned responses - think of the right click on a mouse button, or stopping by a traffic light. In the last decade, neurophysiological work has shown that our ability to select or inhibit responses involves both cortical and subcortical regions within our brain. However, in isolation, no single node in the brain can achieve the goal of deliberately initiating or inhibiting a response. I try to inform this discussion by asking how different regions in our brain collaborate (as a network, or system) to initiate or withdraw controlled actions. First, we demonstrate that the ability to withdraw a planned action relies on the communication between the prefrontal cortex and sub-cortical structures within the basal ganglia. By studying the dynamics of this system, we further show how this inhibitory circuit can be requited in advance when we anticipate the need for stopping in the future. We then proceed by showing how cortical and subcortical regions communicate to select a response, and how this selection can be influenced by the quality of information available in sensory parts of the brain. Think of how reduced visibility in traffic might alter driving behavior. Overall, this dissertation demonstrates how regions within our brain communicate to select or inhibit a response. Moreover, we shed light on how the ‘goal-oriented’ frontal part of our brain communicates with the more "response gating" deeper subcortical structures, to facilitate voluntary goal-oriented behavior.
- Research conducted at: Universiteit van Amsterdam
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