The Theatre of the Mind: Physiological Studies of the Human Frontal Lobes

Terence W. Picton, Claude Alain and Anthony R. McIntosh

in Principles of Frontal Lobe Function

Published in print August 2002 | ISBN: 9780195134971
Published online May 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780199864157 | DOI:
The Theatre of the Mind: Physiological Studies of the Human Frontal Lobes

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This chapter argues that the frontal lobes, and in particular the prefrontal cortices, enact the “theatre of the mind.” The frontal regions of the human brain are crucial elements in the interacting networks that instantiate representational processing. A representational processor interprets what is occurring by making explanatory models, and adjusts behavior to fit with desired goals. At its highest levels the representational processor can be separated from reality and can operate on hypothetical contents. The processing involves simultaneous activities in multiple regions of the brain, which are essentially linked through prefrontal neurons. The concurrence of these activities makes it difficult to disentangle the individual processes. The neuropsychology of the frontal lobes must consider the disruption of networks rather than the localization of function.

Keywords: prefrontal cortices; cognition; perception; behavior; learning; memory

Chapter.  10038 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Neuroscience

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