The aim of the present study was to investigate behavioral and electrophysiological indices of developing response activation and inhibition processes in child, young-adult, and adult groups. Sixty subjects, with 20 in each of the child (mean age 10.8 years), young-adult (mean age 20.7 years), and older adult (mean age 36.4 years) groups, performed an auditory Go/NoGo task while task performance variables and EEG were recorded. ERPs were derived to Go (response activation) and NoGo (response inhibition) stimuli, with the amplitude and latency of the N1, P2, N2, and P3 ERP components analyzed as a function of age. Results indicate improved task performance, and a reduction in the latency of each component and the amplitude of the N2 and P3 components, with increasing age. Analyses ofGo versus NoGo effects indicated differential utilization of inhibition-related processing stages in children compared to adults, with some minor differences between the two adult groups. Go/NoGo effects were evident during early stages of processing, such as those indexed by the N1 and N2 components in children, but only in later stages, as indexed by P3, in adult subjects. This study provides much-needed data on the normative development of response activation and inhibition, as operationalized by the auditory Go/NoGo task, in children and two groups of younger/older adult subjects.
Journal of Psychophysiology Vol. 19, Issue 1, p. 11-23