Special Reviews

The Role of the Medial Frontal Cortex in Cognitive Control

Science  15 Oct 2004:
Vol. 306, Issue 5695, pp. 443-447
DOI: 10.1126/science.1100301

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Abstract

Adaptive goal-directed behavior involves monitoring of ongoing actions and performance outcomes, and subsequent adjustments of behavior and learning. We evaluate new findings in cognitive neuroscience concerning cortical interactions that subserve the recruitment and implementation of such cognitive control. A review of primate and human studies, along with a meta-analysis of the human functional neuroimaging literature, suggest that the detection of unfavorable outcomes, response errors, response conflict, and decision uncertainty elicits largely overlapping clusters of activation foci in an extensive part of the posterior medial frontal cortex (pMFC). A direct link is delineated between activity in this area and subsequent adjustments in performance. Emerging evidence points to functional interactions between the pMFC and the lateral prefrontal cortex (LPFC), so that monitoring-related pMFC activity serves as a signal that engages regulatory processes in the LPFC to implement performance adjustments.

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