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The Anterior Cingulate Cortex: The Evolution of an Interface between Emotion and Cognition

Allman, John M. and Hakeem, Atiya and Erwin, Joseph M. and Nimchinsky, Esther and Hof, Patrick (2001) The Anterior Cingulate Cortex: The Evolution of an Interface between Emotion and Cognition. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 935 (1). pp. 107-117. ISSN 0077-8923. doi:10.1111/j.1749-6632.2001.tb03476.x.

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We propose that the anterior cingulate cortex is a specialization of neocortex rather than a more primitive stage of cortical evolution. Functions central to intelligent behavior, that is, emotional self‐control, focused problem solving, error recognition, and adaptive response to changing conditions, are juxtaposed with the emotions in this structure. Evidence of an important role for the anterior cingulate cortex in these functions has accumulated through single‐neuron recording, electrical stimulation, EEG, PET, fMRI, and lesion studies. The anterior cingulate cortex contains a class of spindle‐shaped neurons that are found only in humans and the great apes, and thus are a recent evolutionary specialization probably related to these functions. The spindle cells appear to be widely connected with diverse parts of the brain and may have a role in the coordination that would be essential in developing the capacity to focus on difficult problems. Furthermore, they emerge postnatally and their survival may be enhanced or reduced by environmental conditions of enrichment or stress, thus potentially influencing adult competence or dysfunction in emotional self‐control and problem‐solving capacity.

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Additional Information:© 2001 The New York Academy of Sciences. This work was supported by National Institutes of Health Grants AG14308 and EY11759 and the Hixon Fund. We thank Karli Watson, Eliot Bush, Stephen Shepherd, and Kathy Vlahos for their helpful comments on the manuscript and Archie Fobbs for his valuable assistance in using the Yakovlev Brain Collection at the National Museum of Health and Medicine.
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Hixson Professorship, CaltechUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:Anterior cingulate cortex; Cognition; Emotion; Problem solving; Self control; Spindle cells; Brain evolution
Issue or Number:1
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20200629-134857651
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Official Citation:Allman, J.M., Hakeem, A., Erwin, J.M., Nimchinsky, E. and Hof, P. (2001), The Anterior Cingulate Cortex. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 935: 107-117. doi:10.1111/j.1749-6632.2001.tb03476.x
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:104141
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:29 Jun 2020 21:20
Last Modified:16 Nov 2021 18:28

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