Neuroscience

Fine-scale structure in higher brain areas

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Science  17 Mar 2017:
Vol. 355, Issue 6330, pp. 1170-1171
DOI: 10.1126/science.355.6330.1170-g

The prefrontal cortex of the brain is involved in higher-order cognitive processes, including attention, decision-making, and goal-directed action. At present, we do not know how abstract context is represented in the prefrontal cortex, whether there are subregions, and, if so, how they might be organized. Waskom and Wagner used high-resolution brain scanning while subjects performed tasks that demanded goal-directed behavior. Multivariate signal–decoding techniques and examination of spontaneous activity correlations demonstrated the existence of stable networks of subregions within this brain area. Abstract cognitive representations thus emerge from an intrinsic functional organization in the human prefrontal cortex.

Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 114, 230 (2017).

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