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

  • Ingeborg Goethals
  • Kurt Audenaert
  • Christophe Van de Wiele
  • Rudi Dierckx
Occasional Survey


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.


Prefrontal cortex Functional neuroimaging Cognitive activation 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ingeborg Goethals
    • 1
  • Kurt Audenaert
    • 2
  • Christophe Van de Wiele
    • 1
  • Rudi Dierckx
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Nuclear Medicine, Polikliniek 7Ghent University HospitalGhentBelgium
  2. 2.Department of Psychiatry and Medical PsychologyGhent University HospitalGhentBelgium

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