Mnemonic Function of the Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex in Conflict-Induced Behavioral Adjustment

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Science  09 Nov 2007:
Vol. 318, Issue 5852, pp. 987-990
DOI: 10.1126/science.1146384

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Our cognitive abilities in performing tasks are influenced by experienced competition/conflict between behavioral choices. To determine the role of the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) in the conflict detection-resolution process, we conducted complementary lesion and single-cell recording studies in monkeys that were resolving a conflict between two rules. We observed conflict-induced behavioral adjustment that persisted after lesions within the ACC but disappeared after lesions within the DLPFC. In the DLPFC, activity was modulated in some cells by the current conflict level and in other cells by the conflict experienced in the previous trial. These results show that the DLPFC, but not the ACC, is essential for the conflict-induced behavioral adjustment and suggest that encoding and maintenance of information about experienced conflict is mediated by the DLPFC.

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