The Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex, the Apathetic Syndrome, and Free Will
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The prefrontal cortex is deputed to higher functions, such as behavior and personality. It includes three regions: ventromedial, orbitofrontal, and dorsolateral. Each of them has a function. Devising, programming, and planning are all conditions related to the dorsolateral cortex, also responsible for rational content and decision. Damage to this region results in apathetic syndrome, a condition that causes loss of interest, initiative, and attention, and in the most severe cases leads to a lethargic state. It is also known as a form of secondary depression, the so-called pseudo-depression syndrome, according to Karl Kleist or apathetic-abulic-akinetic syndrome, according to Alexander Luria. The prefrontal dorsolateral syndrome is responsible for the reduction or abolition of free will. Free will is an expression of individual freedom. It allows the human being to have and express own opinions as well as to respect those of others. Free will is related to moral sense, a binomial which directs the individual towards a proper social conduct. In this review, we describe the effects of the pseudo-depression syndrome on free will, of which we treat both the anatomical site and the social aspect.
KeywordsFrontal lobe Apathetic syndrome Free will Prefrontal cortex Dorsolateral syndrome
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Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.
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