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Combining the Insights Derived from Lesion and fMRI Studies to Understand the Function of Prefrontal Cortex

Mark D’Esposito and David Badre

in Mind and the Frontal Lobes

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199791569
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199919215 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199791569.003.0022
Combining the Insights Derived from Lesion and fMRI Studies to Understand the Function of Prefrontal Cortex

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Executive function and cognitive control are both terms used to describe our ability to direct thought and action based on our goals and intentions, rather than being driven automatically by the environment that surrounds us. Current theories of executive function and cognitive control propose that the prefrontal cortex (PFC) is a critical brain region for this ability by providing top-down signals that modulate incoming sensory information. This chapter addresses two fundamental questions: First, what are the mechanisms by which the PFC can provide top-down signals? and second, what is the functional organization of the PFC? To address these questions, data collected from the careful study of neurological patients with focal frontal lesionsand functional MRI (fMRI) with healthy volunteers, will be considered.

Keywords: prefrontal cortex; working memory; cognitive control; hierarchy; frontal lobe syndrome; lesion; functional MRI

Chapter.  6254 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Neuropsychology

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