Date: 23 Dec 2003

The prefrontal cortex: insights from functional neuroimaging using cognitive activation tasks

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Abstract

This review presents neuroimaging studies which have explored the functional anatomy of a variety of cognitive processes represented by the prefrontal cortex (PFC). Overall, these studies have demonstrated that standard prefrontal neuroactivation tasks recruit a widely distributed network within the brain of which the PFC consistently forms a part. As such, these results are in keeping with the notion that executive functions within the PFC rely not only on anterior (mainly prefrontal) brain areas, but also on posterior (mainly parietal) brain regions. Moreover, intervention of similar brain regions in a large number of different executive tasks suggests that higher-level cognitive functions may best be understood in terms of an interactive network of specialised anterior as well as posterior brain regions.