Cognitive, Affective, & Behavioral Neuroscience

, Volume 7, Issue 4, pp 391–395 | Cite as

The anterior cingulate gyrus and the mechanism of self-regulation

  • Michael I. Posner
  • Mary K. Rothbart
  • Brad E. Sheese
  • Yiyuan Tang


The midfrontal cortex, and particularly the anterior cingulate gyrus, appears active in many studies of functional imaging. Various models have competed to explain the functions of the anterior cingulate in relation to its patterns of activation. We believe that the concept of self-regulation is valuable in considering the role of the cingulate. The sensitivity of the cingulate to both reward and pain, and evidence for cingulate coupling to cognitive and emotional areas during task performance, support this identification. Self-regulation is a very broad concept that does not lend itself very well to specific models or tests, but it does provide a framework for examining development. We trace the role of the midfrontal cortex in evolution and infant development. Both genes and environment influence self-regulation. The presence of both genetic and environmental effects raises the issue of their interaction, which we discuss in relation to the dopamine 4 receptor gene and parenting methods. The role of the midfrontal cortex in self-regulation allows us to consider both brain networks common to all people and network efficiency underlying individual differences in behavior. This research was supported by NIMH Grant HD5801 to Georgia State University and by a grant from the Dana Foundation for the study of the arts.


Anterior Cingulate Cortex Brain Network Effortful Control Conflict Task Anterior Cingulate Gyrus 
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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Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael I. Posner
    • 2
  • Mary K. Rothbart
    • 2
  • Brad E. Sheese
    • 2
  • Yiyuan Tang
    • 2
    • 1
  1. 1.Dalian University of TechnologyDalianChina
  2. 2.Department of Psychology1227 University of OregonEugene

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