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This experiment used event-related potentials (ERPs) to investigate the neural processes underlying the development of response inhibition in a modified version of the go/no-go paradigm [Cragg and Nation [2008] Developmental Science 11(6): 819-827]. N2 and P3 ERP components on correct go trials and partial and successful inhibitions were compared in 7- and 9-year-old children. A larger N2 effect on successful inhibitions was found in 9-year-olds compared to 7-year-olds at fronto-central electrodes. N2 amplitude was positively related to behavioral performance in the 7-year-olds suggesting it may reflect inhibitory processes; however, this relationship was not present in the 9-year-olds. Age differences were also apparent in the go P3, perhaps indicating differences in stimulus processing. The no-go P3 component was larger on successful than partial inhibitions. In contrast, there was no difference in N2 amplitude between partial and successful inhibitions. A significant difference was found in N2 latency however. This suggests that inhibitory processes are similar in both cases but initiated earlier on successful inhibitions. N2 latency was also shorter in 9-year-olds than 7-year-olds supporting an increase in the efficiency of response inhibition with age.

Original publication




Journal article


Dev Psychobiol

Publication Date





533 - 543


Age Factors, Analysis of Variance, Attention, Cerebral Cortex, Child, Child Development, Choice Behavior, Electroencephalography, Evoked Potentials, Female, Humans, Inhibition (Psychology), Male, Neuropsychological Tests, Photic Stimulation, Psychomotor Performance, Reaction Time, Signal Processing, Computer-Assisted