Hostname: page-component-594f858ff7-7tp2g Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2023-06-07T17:15:22.127Z Has data issue: false Feature Flags: { "corePageComponentGetUserInfoFromSharedSession": true, "coreDisableEcommerce": false, "corePageComponentUseShareaholicInsteadOfAddThis": true, "coreDisableSocialShare": false, "useRatesEcommerce": true } hasContentIssue false

How Inhibition Relates to Impulsivity after Moderate to Severe Traumatic Brain Injury

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 July 2013

Lucien Rochat*
Cognitive Psychopathology and Neuropsychology Unit, University of Geneva, Switzerland Swiss Centre for Affective Sciences, University of Geneva, Switzerland
Catia Beni
Cognitive Psychopathology and Neuropsychology Unit, University of Geneva, Switzerland
Jean-Marie Annoni
Neuropsychology Unit, Geneva University Hospital, Geneva, Switzerland Neurology Unit, Department of Medicine, University of Fribourg, Switzerland
Philippe Vuadens
Clinique Romande de Réadaptation, Sion, Switzerland
Martial Van der Linden
Cognitive Psychopathology and Neuropsychology Unit, University of Geneva, Switzerland Swiss Centre for Affective Sciences, University of Geneva, Switzerland Cognitive Psychopathology Unit, University of Liège, Belgium
Correspondence and reprint requests to: Lucien Rochat, Cognitive Psychopathology and Neuropsychology Unit, University of Geneva, 40, Boulevard du Pont d'Arve, CH-1205 Geneva, Switzerland. E-mail:


Impulsive behaviors and poor inhibition performances are frequently described in patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI). However, few studies have examined impulsivity and associated inhibition impairments in these patients. Twenty-eight patients with moderate to severe TBI and 27 matched controls performed a stop-signal task designed to assess prepotent response inhibition (the ability to inhibit a dominant or automatic motor response) in a neutral or emotional context and a recent negative task to assess resistance to proactive interference (the ability to resist the intrusion into memory of information that was previously relevant but has since become irrelevant). Informants of each patient completed a short questionnaire designed to assess impulsivity. Patients showed a significant increase in current urgency, lack of premeditation, and lack of perseverance when retrospectively compared with the preinjury condition. Group comparisons revealed poorer prepotent response inhibition and resistance to proactive interference performances in patients with TBI. Finally, correlation analyses revealed a significant positive correlation between urgency (the tendency to act rashly when distressed) and prepotent response inhibition in patients with TBI. This study sheds new light on the construct of impulsivity after a TBI, its related cognitive mechanisms, and its potential role in problematic behaviors described after a TBI. (JINS, 2013, 19, 1–9)

Research Articles
Copyright © The International Neuropsychological Society 2013 

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


Bechara, A., Van der Linden, M. (2005). Decision-making and impulse control after frontal lobe injuries. Current Opinion in Neurology, 18, 734739.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Benjamini, Y., Hochberg, Y. (1995). Controlling the false discovery rate: A practical and powerful approach to multiple testing. Journal of the Royal Statistical Society. Series B, 57, 289300.Google Scholar
Billieux, J., Gay, P., Rochat, L., Van der Linden, M. (2010). The role of urgency and its underlying psychological mechanisms in problematic behaviours. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 48, 10851096. doi:10.1016/j.brat.2010.07.008CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Content, A., Mousty, P., Radeau, M. (1990). Brulex: Une base de données lexicales informatisée pour le français écrit et parlé. L'Année Psychologique, 90, 551566.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Cyders, M.A. (2013). Impulsivity and the sexes: Measurement and structural invariance of the UPPS-P Impulsive Behavior Scale. Assessment, 20, 8697. doi:10.1177/1073191111428762CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Cyders, M.A., Smith, G.T. (2008). Emotion-based dispositions to rash action: Positive and negative urgency. Psychological Bulletin, 134, 807828. doi:10.1037/a0013341CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Dimoska-Di Marco, A., McDonald, S., Kelly, M., Tate, R., Johnstone, S. (2011). A meta-analysis of response inhibition and Stroop interference control deficits in adults with traumatic brain injury (TBI). Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology, 33, 471485. doi:10.1080/13803395.2010.533158CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Duchek, J.M., Balota, D.A., Tse, C.-S., Holtzman, D.M., Fagan, A.M., Goate, A.M. (2009). The utility of intraindividual variability in selective attention tasks as an early marker for Alzheimer's disease. Neuropsychology, 23, 746758. doi:10.1037/a0016583CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Friedman, N.P., Miyake, A. (2004). The relations among inhibition and interference control functions: A latent-variable analysis. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 133, 101135. doi:10.1037/0096-3445.133.1.101CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Gay, P., Courvoisier, D.S., Billieux, J., Rochat, L., Schmidt, R.E., Van der Linden, M. (2010). Can the distinction between intentional and unintentional interference control help differentiate varieties of impulsivity? Journal of Research in Personality, 44, 4652. doi:10.1016/j.jrp.2009.10.003Google Scholar
Gay, P., Rochat, L., Billieux, J., d'Acremont, M., Van der Linden, M. (2008). Heterogeneous inhibition processes involved in different facets of self-reported impulsivity: Evidence from a community sample. Acta Psychologica, 129, 332339. doi:10.1016/j.actpsy.2008.08.010CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Goeleven, E., De Raedt, R., Leyman, L., Verschuere, B. (2008). The Karolinska Directed Emotional Faces: A validation study. Cognition and Emotion, 22, 10941118. doi:10.1080/02699930701626582CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hamilton, A.C., Martin, R.C. (2005). Dissociations among tasks involving inhibition: A single-case study. Cognitive, Affective, & Behavioral Neuroscience, 5, 113. doi:10.3758/CABN.5.1.1CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Levin, H., Kraus, M.F. (1994). The frontal lobes and traumatic brain injury. Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, 6, 443454.Google ScholarPubMed
Logan, G.D. (1994). On the ability to inhibit thought and action: A user's guide to the stop-signal paradigm. In D. Dagenbach & T.H. Carr (Eds.), Inhibitory processes in attention, memory, and language (pp. 189239). San Diego, CA: Academic Press.Google Scholar
Lundqvist, D., Flykt, A., Öhman, A. (1998). The Karolinska Directed Emotional Faces—KDEF, CD ROM from Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Psychology section, Karolinska Institutet, ISBN 91-630-7164-9.Google Scholar
McAllister, T.W. (2008). Neurobehavioral sequelae of traumatic brain injury: Evaluation and management. World Psychiatry, 7, 310.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Miller, J., Flory, K., Lynam, D.R., Leukefeld, C. (2003). A test of the four-factor model of impulsivity-related traits. Personality and Individual Differences, 34, 14031418. doi:10.1016/S0191-8869(02)00122-8CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Miyake, A., Friedman, N.P., Emerson, M.J., Witzki, A.H., Howerter, A., Wager, T.D. (2000). The unity and diversity of executive functions and their contributions to complex “Frontal Lobe” tasks: A latent variable analysis. Cognitive Psychology, 41, 49100. doi:10.1006/cogp.1999.0734CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Nee, D.E., Jonides, J., Berman, M.G. (2007). Neural mechanisms of proactive interference-resolution. Neuroimage, 38, 740751. doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2007.07.066CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Pessoa, L. (2009). How do emotion and motivation direct executive control? Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 13, 160166. doi:10.1016/j.tics.2009.01.006CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Phillips, M.L., Drevets, W.C., Rauch, S.L., Lane, R. (2003). Neurobiology of emotion perception II: Implications for major psychiatric disorders. Biological Psychiatry, 54, 515528.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Ponsford, J., Sloan, S., Snow, P. (2013). Traumatic brain injury: Rehabilitation for everyday adaptive living (2nd ed.). Hove, England: Psychology Press.Google Scholar
Rao, V., Lyketsos, C. (2000). Neuropsychiatric sequelae of traumatic brain injury. Psychosomatics, 41, 95103. doi:10.1176/appi.psy.41.2.95CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Rochat, L., Beni, C., Billieux, J., Annoni, J.-M., Van der Linden, M. (2011). How impulsivity relates to compulsive buying and the burden perceived by caregivers after moderate-to-severe traumatic brain injury. Psychopathology, 44, 154168. doi:10.1159/000322454CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Rochat, L., Beni, C., Billieux, J., Azouvi, P., Annoni, J.M., Van der Linden, M. (2010). Assessment of impulsivity after moderate to severe traumatic brain injury. Neuropsychological Rehabilitation, 20, 778797. doi:10.1080/09602011.2010.495245CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Rochat, L., Billieux, J., Juillerat Van der Linden, A.C., Annoni, J.M., Zekry, D., Gold, G., Van der Linden, M. (2013). A multidimensional approach to impulsivity changes in mild Alzheimer's disease and control participants: Cognitive correlates. Cortex, 49, 90100. doi:10.1016/j.cortex.2011.08.004CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Rochat, L., Delbeuck, X., Billieux, J., d'Acremont, M., Juillerat Van der Linden, A.C., Van der Linden, M. (2008). Assessing impulsivity changes in Alzheimer Disease. Alzheimer Disease & Associated Disorders, 22, 278283. doi:10.1097/WAD.0b013e318166d692CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Tate, R.L. (1999). Executive dysfunction and characterological changes after traumatic brain injury: Two sides of the same coin? Cortex, 35, 3955. doi:10.1016/S0010-9452(08)70784-6CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Verbruggen, F., De Houwer, J. (2007). Do emotional stimuli interfere with response inhibition? Evidence from the stop-signal paradigm. Cognition and Emotion, 21, 391403. doi:10.1080/02699930600625081CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Verbruggen, F., Logan, G.D. (2008). Response inhibition in the stop-signal paradigm. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 12, 418424. doi:10.1016/j.tics.2008.07.005CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Whiteside, S.P., Lynam, D.R. (2001). The Five Factor Model and impulsivity: Using a structural model of personality to understand impulsivity. Personality and Individual Differences, 30, 669689. doi:10.1016/S0191-8869(00)00064-7CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Wickens, D.D., Born, D.G., Allen, C.K. (1963). Proactive inhibition and item similarity in short-term memory. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 2, 440445. doi:10.1016/S0022-5371(63)80045-6CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Yoon, K.L., Joormann, J., Gotlib, I.H. (2009). Judging the intensity of facial expressions of emotion: Depression-related biases in the processing of positive affect. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 118, 223228. doi:10.1037/a0014658CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed