Preserved but less efficient control of response interference after unilateral lesions of the striatum

Claudia C. Schmidt, David C. Timpert, Isabel Arend, Simone Vossel, Anna Dovern, Jochen Saliger, Hans Karbe, Gereon R. Fink, Avishai Henik, Peter H. Weiss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Previous research on the neural basis of cognitive control processes has mainly focused on cortical areas, while the role of subcortical structures in cognitive control is less clear. Models of basal ganglia function as well as clinical studies in neurodegenerative diseases suggest that the striatum (putamen and caudate nucleus) modulates the inhibition of interfering responses and thereby contributes to an important aspect of cognitive control, namely response interference control. To further investigate the putative role of the striatum in the control of response interference, 23 patients with stroke-induced lesions of the striatum and 32 age-matched neurologically healthy controls performed a unimanual version of the Simon task. In the Simon task, the correspondence between stimulus location and response location is manipulated so that control over response interference can be inferred from the reaction time costs in incongruent trials. Results showed that stroke patients responded overall slower and more erroneous than controls. The difference in response times (RTs) between incongruent and congruent trials (known as the Simon effect) was smaller in the ipsilesional/-lateral hemifield, but did not differ significantly between groups. However, in contrast to controls, stroke patients exhibited an abnormally stable Simon effect across the reaction time distribution indicating a reduced efficiency of the inhibition process. Thus, in stroke patients unilateral lesions of the striatum did not significantly impair the general ability to control response interference, but led to less efficient selective inhibition of interfering responses.

Original languageEnglish
Article number414
JournalFrontiers in Human Neuroscience
StatePublished - 16 Oct 2018


  • Caudate nucleus
  • Cognitive control
  • Putamen
  • Simon task
  • Stroke

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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