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Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience

October 2017, Vol. 29, No. 10, Pages 1674-1683
(doi: 10.1162/jocn_a_01138)
Integrative Modeling of Prefrontal Cortex
Article PDF (280.24 KB)

pFC is generally regarded as a region critical for abstract reasoning and high-level cognitive behaviors. As such, it has become the focus of intense research involving a wide variety of subdisciplines of neuroscience and employing a diverse range of methods. However, even as the amount of data on pFC has increased exponentially, it appears that progress toward understanding the general function of the region across a broad array of contexts has not kept pace. Effects observed in pFC are legion, and their interpretations are generally informed by a particular perspective or methodology with little regard with how those effects may apply more broadly. Consequently, the number of specific roles and functions that have been identified makes the region a very crowded place indeed and one that appears unlikely to be explained by a single general principle. In this theoretical article, we describe how the function of large portions of pFC can be accommodated by a single explanatory framework based on the computation and manipulation of error signals and how this framework may be extended to account for additional parts of pFC.