Journal Article

Prefrontal cortex is critical for contextual processing: evidence from brain lesions

Noa Fogelson, Mona Shah, Donatella Scabini and Robert T. Knight

in Brain

Published on behalf of The Guarantors of Brain

Volume 132, issue 11, pages 3002-3010
Published in print November 2009 | ISSN: 0006-8950
Published online August 2009 | e-ISSN: 1460-2156 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/brain/awp230
Prefrontal cortex is critical for contextual processing: evidence from brain lesions

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We investigated the role of prefrontal cortex (PFC) in local contextual processing using a combined event-related potentials and lesion approach. Local context was defined as the occurrence of a short predictive series of visual stimuli occurring before delivery of a target event. Targets were preceded by either randomized sequences of standards or by sequences including a three-stimulus predictive sequence signalling the occurrence of a subsequent target event. PFC lesioned patients were impaired in their ability to use local contextual information. The response time for controls revealed a larger benefit for predictable targets than for random targets relative to PFC patients. PFC patients had reduced amplitude of a context-dependent positivity and failed to generate the expected P3b latency shift between predictive and non-predictive targets. These findings show that PFC patients are unable to utilize predictive local context to guide behaviour, providing evidence for a critical role of PFC in local contextual processing.

Keywords: context; prefrontal cortex; P3b; EEG; context positivity

Journal Article.  5311 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Neurology ; Neuroscience

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