Neural correlates of enhanced response inhibition in the aftermath of stress

Jingjing Chang, Jianping Hu, Chiang Shan R. Li, Rongjun Yu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Life stress has been shown to impact cognitive functions, including inhibitory control. However, the immediate effects of acute stress on inhibitory control and the underlying neural mechanisms remain unclear. In a behavioral pilot study (N = 30) and a within-subject functional magnetic resonance imaging study (N = 30), we examined how acute stress induced by Trier Social Stress Test influenced inhibitory control in a stop signal task. Behavioral results across two studies showed that stress consistently improved inhibitory control. Shorter stop signal reaction time (SSRT) in stress as compared with control condition was associated with stronger connectivity between the superior/middle frontal gyrus (SFG/MFG) and striatum. Dynamic causal modeling revealed distinct best models under stress and control condition, with an enhanced interaction between the SFG/MFG and the striatum after stress exposure. This research identified the SFG/MFG-striatum network as a key circuit underlying acute stress-elicited enhancement of inhibitory control in a stop signal task.

Original languageEnglish
Article number116212
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Neurology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience

User-Defined Keywords

  • Prefrontal cortex
  • Response inhibition
  • Stop signal task
  • Stress
  • Striatum


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