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Published September 4, 2012 | Published + Supplemental Material
Journal Article Open

Lesion mapping of cognitive control and value-based decision making in the prefrontal cortex


A considerable body of previous research on the prefrontal cortex (PFC) has helped characterize the regional specificity of various cognitive functions, such as cognitive control and decision making. Here we provide definitive findings on this topic, using a neuropsychological approach that takes advantage of a unique dataset accrued over several decades. We applied voxel-based lesion-symptom mapping in 344 individuals with focal lesions (165 involving the PFC) who had been tested on a comprehensive battery of neuropsychological tasks. Two distinct functional-anatomical networks were revealed within the PFC: one associated with cognitive control (response inhibition, conflict monitoring, and switching), which included the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and anterior cingulate cortex and a second associated with value-based decision-making, which included the orbitofrontal, ventromedial, and frontopolar cortex. Furthermore, cognitive control tasks shared a common performance factor related to set shifting that was linked to the rostral anterior cingulate cortex. By contrast, regions in the ventral PFC were required for decision-making. These findings provide detailed causal evidence for a remarkable functional-anatomical specificity in the human PFC.

Additional Information

© 2012 National Academy of Sciences. Edited by Marcus E. Raichle, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO, and approved July 26, 2012 (received for review April 19, 2012. Published online before print August 20, 2012. Kenneth Manzel assisted in collecting and standardizing the neuropsychological data, Joel Bruss assisted in transferring the lesions of individual patients into a common reference space, and Nicholas Jones provided support with data management. This work was funded by German Ministry of Research and Education Grant 01GQ1006 (to J.G.), National Institutes of Health Grants P50 NS19632 (to H.D., D.T., R.A., and A.B.) and R01 DA022549 (to D.T.), grants from the Kiwanis Foundation (to D.T.), and by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation (to R.A.). Author contributions: J.G. and R.A. designed research; H.D., A.B., D.R., M.C., and D.T. performed research; J.G., R.A., M.C., and L.K.P. analyzed data; and J.G., R.A., H.D., A.B., D.R., L.K.P., and D.T. wrote the paper.

Attached Files

Published - PNAS-2012-Glascher-14681-6.pdf

Supplemental Material - pnas.201206608SI.pdf


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August 22, 2023
October 20, 2023