Protocol - Response Inhibition (Go/NoGo Task)

Add to My Toolkit

The Go/NoGo task is a computer-administered task that is delivered by scripts written in either E-Prime or Presentation software. The Go/NoGo task requires a single response to Go stimuli and a response withhold to NoGo stimuli. Go stimuli are presented more frequently than the NoGo stimuli so that the participant develops a (prepotent) tendency toward response execution.

For more information about the Go/NoGo task, please refer to the Cognitive Atlas Interpretation.

Specific Instructions



Limited Availability


Summary of the Go/NoGo Task

The Go/NoGo procedure consists of a visually presented stream of letters that are presented serially every 1,000 milliseconds (msec). The stimuli are the letters X and Y (although the program could be modified to use other stimuli), and each is presented for 600 msec and followed by a 400 msec blank screen. These timings can also be modified so as to increase the task difficulty. For example, shorter durations combined with the instruction to respond while the stimulus is onscreen leads to faster response times on Go trials and more frequent commission errors on NoGo trials. Participants press a button to respond to each stimulus X or Y. Participants respond when the stimuli are presented in an alternating pattern and withhold responding when the alternation is broken. For example, participants should respond to each stimulus except the fifth in the following sequence . . . X Y X Y Y X . . . . NoGo trials occur randomly 10% of the time. The entire Go/NoGo task consists of two runs of 500 letters containing 450 Go trials and 50 NoGo trials.


The E-prime script for Go/NoGo calculates the means for a variety of summary variables, including block number, trial number, type of trial, reaction time, number of omission errors (missed response targets), and number of commission errors (incorrectly responding to nonresponse targets). Higher numbers of commission errors indicate greater motor impulsivity.

Personnel and Training Required

The Go/NoGo task can be administered by research assistants trained in the ethical and competent use of psychological tests.

Equipment Needs

Investigators will need a copy of E-Prime ® (http://www.pstnet.com/eprime.cfm) or Presentation® (http://www.neurobs.com/) in order to open and invoke the Go/NoGo task.

Requirement CategoryRequired
Major equipment No
Specialized training No
Specialized requirements for biospecimen collection No
Average time of greater than 15 minutes in an unaffected individual No
Mode of Administration

Self-administered evaluation




Adults aged 18 years or older

Selection Rationale

The Go/NoGo task is a well-established, validated test of response inhibition.



Human Phenotype Ontology Cognitive impairment HP:0100543 HPO
Human Phenotype Ontology Addictive behavior HP:0030858 HPO
Human Phenotype Ontology Impulsivity HP:0100710 HPO
Human Phenotype Ontology Disinhibition HP:0000734 HPO
Derived Variables


Process and Review

The Expert Review Panel #3 (ERP 3) reviewed the measures in Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Substances, and Substance Abuse and Addiction domains.

Guidance from ERP 3 includes:

• No significant changes to measure

Back-compatible: NA no changes to Data Dictionary

Protocol Name from Source

Go/NoGo task


The Go/NoGo task can be obtained by contacting Dr. Hugh Garavan at the University of Vermont: Hugh.Garavan@uvm.edu

General References

Garavan, H., Ross, T. J., & Stein, E. A. (1999). Right hemispheric dominance of inhibitory control: An event-related fMRI study. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA, 96(14), 8301-8306.

Hester, R., Simões-Franklin, C., & Garavan, H. (2007). Post-error behaviour in active cocaine users: Poor awareness of errors in the presence of intact performance adjustments. Neuropsychopharmacology, 32(9), 1974-1984.

Johnstone, S. J., Dimoska, A., Smith, J. L., Barry, R. J., Pleffer, C. B., Chiswick, D., & Clarke, A. R. (2007). The development of Stop-Signal and Go/NoGo response inhibition in children aged 7-12 years: Performance and event-related potential indices. International Journal of Psychophysiology, 63, 25-38.

Kaufman, J., Ross, T. J., Stein, E. A., & Garavan, H. (2003). Cingulate hypoactivity in cocaine users during a GO/NOGO task as revealed by event-related fMRI. Journal of Neuroscience, 23(21), 7839-7843.

Monterosso, J. R., Aron, A. R., Cordova, X., Xu, J. S., & London, E. D. (2005). Deficits in response inhibition associated with chronic methamphetamine abuse. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 79, 273-277.

Murphy, P., & Garavan, H. (2011). Cognitive predictors of AUDIT scores among college students. Drug & Alcohol Dependence, 115, 94-100.

Nestor, L., McCabe, E., Jones, J., Clancy, L., & Garavan, H. (2011). Differences in "bottom-up" and "top-down" neural activity in current and former cigarette smokers: Evidence for neural substrates which may promote nicotine abstinence through increased cognitive control. NeuroImage, 56, 2258-2275.

Nigg, J. T., Wong, M. M., Martel, M. M., Jester, J. M., Puttler, L. I., Glass, J. M., Adams, K. M., Fitzgerald, H. E., & Zucker, R. A. (2006). Poor response inhibition as a predictor of problem drinking and illicit drug use in adolescents at risk for alcoholism and other substance use disorders. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 45, 468-475.

Roberts, G. M. P., & Garavan, H. (2010). Evidence of increased activation underlying cognitive control in ecstasy and cannabis users. NeuroImage, 52, 429-435.

Protocol ID


Export Variables
Variable Name Variable IDVariable DescriptiondbGaP Mapping
PX530701000000 Protocol 530701 - proprietary. Check DCW for more
contact show less
Substance Use-related Neurobehavioral and Cognitive Risk Factors
Measure Name

Response Inhibition (Go/NoGo Task)

Release Date

February 24, 2012


This measure assesses the ability of the participant to suppress prepotent or interfering impulses.


Response inhibition is a component of executive control, and poor response inhibition is a risk factor for substance use disorders (Monterosso et al., 2005; Nigg et al., 2006). Like the Stop-Signal task, the Go/NoGo task measures the ability to suppress a prepotent motor response. Whereas the Stop-Signal task requires that an already initiated response be countermanded (based on the presentation of a stop stimulus), the Go/NoGo task requires that the response be suppressed based on an appraisal of a single stimulus (Johnstone et al., 2007).


Go/NoGo, impulsivity, Inhibitory Control, Response inhibition, substance abuse, substance use, SAA, Substance Use-related Neurobehavioral and Cognitive Risk Factors, computer administered

Measure Protocols
Protocol ID Protocol Name
530701 Response Inhibition (Go/NoGo Task)

There are no publications listed for this protocol.