Posterior cingulate cortex: Adapting behavior to a changing world

John M. Pearson, Sarah R. Heilbronner, David L. Barack, Benjamin Y. Hayden, Michael L. Platt

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

339 Scopus citations


When has the world changed enough to warrant a new approach? The answer depends on current needs, behavioral flexibility and prior knowledge about the environment. Formal approaches solve the problem by integrating the recent history of rewards, errors, uncertainty and context via Bayesian inference to detect changes in the world and alter behavioral policy. Neuronal activity in posterior cingulate cortex - a key node in the default network - is known to vary with learning, memory, reward and task engagement. We propose that these modulations reflect the underlying process of change detection and motivate subsequent shifts in behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)143-151
Number of pages9
JournalTrends in Cognitive Sciences
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2011

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors were supported by NIH grants EY103496 (MLP), EY019303 (JP), F31DA028133 (SRH), and by a career development award (DA027718) and a NIDA post-doctoral fellowship (DA023338) (BYH), as well as by the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences.


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