Prefrontal cortex and cognitive control: New insights from human electrophysiology [version 1; peer review: 3 approved]

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


Cognitive control, the ability to regulate one’s cognition and actions on the basis of over-riding goals, is impaired in many psychiatric conditions. Although control requires the coordinated function of several prefrontal cortical regions, it has been challenging to determine how they work together, in part because doing so requires simultaneous recordings from multiple regions. Here, we provide a précis of cognitive control and describe the beneficial consequences of recent advances in neurosurgical practice that make large-scale prefrontal cortical network recordings possible in humans. Such recordings implicate inter-regional theta (5–8 Hz) local field potential (LFP) synchrony as a key element in cognitive control. Major open questions include how theta might influence other oscillations within these networks, the precise timing of information flow between these regions, and how perturbations such as brain stimulation might demonstrate the causal role of LFP phenomena. We propose that an increased focus on human electrophysiology is essential for an understanding of the neural basis of cognitive control.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1696
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019



  • Cingulate
  • Cognitive control
  • Conflict
  • Electrophysiology
  • Local field potential

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

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