, Volume 28, Issue 2, pp 168–186 | Cite as

The frontopolar cortex and human cognition: Evidence for a rostrocaudal hierarchical organization within the human prefrontal cortex

  • Kalina Christoff
  • John D. E. Gabrieli


Numerous brain lesion and functional neuroimaging studies have suggested that the dorsolateral and frontopolar prefrontal regions are involved in complex cognitive processes subserving thought and memory. However, previously proposed functional subdivisions of prefrontal function have concentrated predominantly on posterior prefrontal cortex, including the dorsolateral, ventral, and medial regions. Far less consideration has been given to characterizing the psychological processes mediated by the frontopolar cortex. Here we review published neuroimaging studies of reasoning and episodic memory, two domains in which the frontopolar cortex has been frequently activated. The results suggest that dorsolateral prefrontal cortex is involved when externally generated information is being evaluated, whereas the frontopolar cortex becomes recruited when internally generated information needs to be evaluated. A hierarchical model of prefrontal function is proposed in which dorsolateral and frontopolar regions are serially recruited as a reasoning or memory task requires evaluation of internally generated information.


Prefrontal Cortex Frontal Lobe Free Recall Episodic Memory Reasoning Task 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyStanford UniversityStanfordUSA

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