Prefrontal cortex in control: Broadening the scope to identify mechanisms

William H. Alexander, Joshua W. Brown, Anne G.E. Collins, Benjamin Y. Hayden, Eliana Vassena

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Sometime in the past two decades, neuroimaging and behavioral research converged on pFC as an important locus of cognitive control and decision-making, and that seems to be the last thing anyone has agreed on since. Every year sees an increase in the number of roles and functions attributed to distinct subregions within pFC, roles that may explain behavior and neural activity in one context but might fail to generalize across the many behaviors in which each region is implicated. Emblematic of this ongoing proliferation of functions is dorsal ACC (dACC). Novel tasks that activate dACC are followed by novel interpretations of dACC function, and each new interpretation adds to the number of functionally specific processes contained within the region. This state of affairs, a recurrent and persistent behavior followed by an illusory and transient relief, can be likened to behavioral pathology. In Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 29:10 we collect contributed articles that seek to move the conversation beyond specific functions of subregions of pFC, focusing instead on general roles that support pFC involvement in a wide variety of behaviors and across a variety of experimental paradigms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1061-1065
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of cognitive neuroscience
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


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