Few studies have examined the functional brain correlates of the performance of the Stroop task in bipolar disorder (BD). It is also not known whether it is associated with failure of de-activation in the default mode network, as has been found in studies using other tasks.Twenty-four BD patients and 48 age, sex and educationally estimated intellectual quotient (IQ) matched healthy subjects (HS) underwent a functional MRI during performance of the counting Stroop task. Task-related activations (incongruent versus congruent condition) and de-activations (incongruent versus fixation) were examined using whole-brain, voxel-based methodology.Both the BD patients and the HS showed activation in a cluster encompassing the left dorsolateral and ventrolateral prefrontal cortex and the rostral anterior cingulate cortex and supplementary motor area, with no differences between them. The BD patients, however, showed significant failure of de-activation in the medial frontal cortex and the posterior cingulate cortex/precuneus.The failure to find activation differences between BD patients and controls suggests that the 'regulative' component of cognitive control remains intact in the disorder, at least outside episodes of illness. The failure of de-activation found adds to evidence documenting trait-like default mode network dysfunction in the disorder.