Flexible brain network reconfiguration supporting inhibitory control

Jeffrey M. Spielberg, Gregory A. Miller, Wendy Heller, Marie T. Banich, Danielle S. Bassett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The ability to inhibit distracting stimuli from interfering with goaldirected behavior is crucial for success in most spheres of life. Despite an abundance of studies examining regional brain activation, knowledge of the brain networks involved in inhibitory control remains quite limited. To address this critical gap, we applied graph theory tools to functionalmagnetic resonance imaging data collected while a large sample of adults (n = 101) performed a color-word Stroop task. Higher demand for inhibitory control was associated with restructuring of the global network into a configuration that was more optimized for specialized processing (functional segregation), more efficient at communicating the output of such processing across the network (functional integration), and more resilient to potential interruption (resilience). In addition, there were regional changes with right inferior frontal sulcus and right anterior insula occupying more central positions as network hubs, and dorsal anterior cingulate cortex becoming more tightly coupled with its regional subnetwork. Given the crucial role of inhibitory control in goal-directed behavior, present findings identifying functional network organization supporting inhibitory control have the potential to provide additional insights into how inhibitory control may break down in a wide variety of individuals with neurological or psychiatric difficulties.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10020-10025
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number32
StatePublished - Aug 11 2015


  • Brain network
  • Dorsal anterior cingulate
  • Graph theory
  • Inhibition
  • Inhibitory control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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