γ-Aminobutyric acid (GABA) administration improves action selection processes: a randomised controlled trial.
Sci Rep. 2015 Jul 31;5:12770. Steenbergen L
In order to accomplish a task goal, real-life environments require us to develop different action control strategies in order to rapidly react to fast-moving visual and auditory stimuli. When engaging in complex scenarios, it is essential to prioritise and cascade different actions. Recent studies have pointed to an important role of the gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)-ergic system in the neuromodulation of action cascading. In this study we assessed the specific causal role of the GABA-ergic system in modulating the efficiency of action cascading by administering 800 mg of synthetic GABA or 800 mg oral of microcrystalline cellulose (placebo). In a double-blind, randomised, between-group design, 30 healthy adults performed a stop-change paradigm.
Results showed that the administration of GABA, compared to placebo, increased action selection when an interruption (stop) and a change towards an alternative response were required simultaneously, and when such a change had to occur after the completion of the stop process. These findings, involving the systemic administration of synthetic GABA, provide the first evidence for a possible causal role of the GABA-ergic system in modulating performance in action cascading.
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