Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society

Research Articles

Neural Correlates of Interference Control in Adolescents with Traumatic Brain Injury: Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging Study of the Counting Stroop Task

Sarah J. Tlustosa1, C.-Y. Peter Chiua1a2 c1, Nicolay Chertkoff Walza3a4, Scott K. Hollanda4a5, Lori Bernarda6 and Shari L. Wadea4a6

a1 Department of Psychology, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio

a2 Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio

a3 Division of Behavioral Medicine and Clinical Psychology, Department of Pediatrics, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center

a4 University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Cincinnati, Ohio

a5 Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Research Foundation, Department of Radiology, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center

a6 Division of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Department of Pediatrics, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, Ohio


Difficulty in inhibition or cognitive control is a common and significant sequela of pediatric traumatic brain injury (TBI). The present study used functional MRI to examine one specific inhibitory function, interference control, in 11 adolescents, aged 12–16 years, (mean age, 15.7 years) with TBI who were at least 1 year postinjury and 11 age-matched typically developing control participants (TC) (mean age, 15.2 years). Participants completed a Counting Stroop task with 2 main conditions: (1) a neutral condition requiring the counting of animal words and (2) an interference condition in which mismatched number words were counted. Both TBI and TC adolescents activated similar networks of brain regions relevant to interference control, but the TBI group showed higher levels of activation relative to the TC group in multiple brain areas within this network, including predominantly right frontal and parietal regions. Findings of greater activation of the relevant neural network in the TBI group are consistent with recent fMRI findings using other interference control paradigms with individuals with a history of TBI. (JINS, 2011, 17, 000–000.)

(Received March 26 2010)

(Revised October 18 2010)

(Accepted October 19 2010)

(Online publication November 19 2010)


c1 Correspondence and reprint requests to: Peter Chiu, Department of Psychology, University of Cincinnati, 101A Dyer Hall, ML 0376, Cincinnati, OH 45221-0376. E-mail: