We survey models of response inhibition having different degrees of mathematical, computational and neurobiological specificity and generality. The independent race model accounts for performance of the stop-signal or countermanding task in terms of a race between GO and STOP processes with stochastic finishing times. This model affords insights into neurophysiological mechanisms that are reviewed by other authors in this volume. The formal link between the abstract GO and STOP processes and instantiating neural processes is articulated through interactive race models consisting of stochastic accumulator GO and STOP units. This class of model provides quantitative accounts of countermanding performance and replicates the dynamics of neural activity producing that performance. The interactive race can be instantiated in a network of biophysically plausible spiking excitatory and inhibitory units. Other models seek to account for interactions between units in frontal cortex, basal ganglia and superior colliculus. The strengths, weaknesses and relationships of the different models will be considered. We will conclude with a brief survey of alternative modelling approaches and a summary of problems to be addressed including accounting for differences across effectors, species, individuals, task conditions and clinical deficits.This article is part of the themed issue 'Movement suppression: brain mechanisms for stopping and stillness'.
© 2017 The Author(s).