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The Neurobiology of the Prefrontal Cortex – Anatomy, Evolution, and the Origin of Insight - Oxford Scholarship Online
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The Neurobiology of the Prefrontal Cortex: Anatomy, Evolution, and the Origin of Insight

Richard E. Passingham and Steven P. Wise


The prefrontal cortex makes up almost a quarter of the human brain, and it expanded dramatically during primate evolution. This book presents a new theory about its fundamental function. The book argues that primate-specific parts of the prefrontal cortex evolved to reduce errors in foraging choices, so that particular ancestors of modern humans could overcome periodic food shortages. These developments laid the foundation for working out problems in our imagination, which resulted in the insights that allow humans to avoid errors entirely, at least at times. The book details which parts of th ... More

Keywords: brain, foraging, imagination, primates, humans, learning system, food resources

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2012 Print ISBN-13: 9780199552917
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015 DOI:10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199552917.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Richard E. Passingham, author
Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience, University of Oxford, UK

Steven P. Wise, author
Olschefskie Institute for the Neurobiology of Knowledge, USA