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Impulsivity and Inhibitory Control

Gordon D. Logan, Russell J. Schachar and Rosemary Tannock
Psychological Science
Vol. 8, No. 1 (Jan., 1997), pp. 60-64
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40062847
Page Count: 5
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Impulsivity and Inhibitory Control
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Abstract

We report an experiment testing the hypothesis that impulsive behavior reflects a deficit in the ability to inhibit prepotent responses. Specifically, we examined whether impulsive people respond more slowly to signals to inhibit (stop signals) than nonimpulsive people. In this experiment, 136 undergraduate students completed an impulsivity questionnaire and then participated in a stop-signal experiment, in which they performed a choice reaction time (go) task and were asked to inhibit their responses to the go task when they heard a stop signal. The delay between the go signal and the stop signal was determined by a tracking procedure designed to allow subjects to inhibit on 50% of the stop-signal trials. Reaction time to the go signal did not vary with impulsivity, but estimated stop-signal reaction time was longer in more impulsive subjects, consistent with the hypothesis and consistent with results from populations with pathological problems with impulse control.

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