Objective: To examine how impulsiveness influences the emotional modulation of behavioral and neural correlates of response inhibition. Methods: Twenty-nine healthy individuals scoring high (HI, N = 16) or low (LI, N = 13) on motor impulsiveness performed an emotional Go/Nogo task, including the presentation of pleasant, neutral and unpleasant pictures. Behavioral [reaction times (RTs), accuracy to Go and Nogo trials] and neural (Nogo-N2 and Nogo-P3) correlates of response inhibition were compared between HI and LI groups. Results: Larger Nogo-P3 was found for emotional than neutral stimuli in HI relative to LI group. Faster RTs to Go stimuli and lower accuracy to Nogo stimuli were correlated with larger Nogo-P3 in HI, but not LI, group. No significant interactions between emotion content and impulsiveness for Nogo-N2 and behavioral measures were noted. Conclusions: Impulsiveness influences the emotional modulation of response inhibition by potentiating the response tendencies evoked by the emotional stimuli. Accordingly, high impulsive individuals may need an increased and/or more effortful response inhibition in order to counteract the prepotent tendency to respond elicited by the combination of high trait impulsiveness and high emotional arousal. Significance: The present study suggests the importance to examine how pathological impulsiveness may interact with emotional arousal in modulating response inhibition.
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