Research Reports - How inhibition relates to impulsivity after traumatic brain injury

J Int Neuropsychol Soc. 2013 Jul 2:1-9

Rochat L, Beni C, Annoni JM, Vuadens P, Van der Linden M

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.

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