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Understanding the Prefrontal Cortex – Selective advantage, connectivity, and neural operations - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Understanding the Prefrontal Cortex: Selective advantage, connectivity, and neural operations

Richard E. Passingham


The primate prefrontal cortex sits at the top of the sensory, motor, and outcome processing hierarchies of the neocortex. It transforms sensory inputs into motor outputs, determining the response that is appropriate given the current context and desired outcome. This transformation involves conditional rules. The dorsal prefrontal cortex supports the learning of behavioural sequences, where the next action is conditional on the previous one. The ventral prefrontal cortex supports associations between objects, where the choice of one object is conditional on the presence of another object. Howe ... More

Keywords: abstract rules, behavioural transfer, evolution, human intelligence, imitation, language, prefrontal cortex, problem solving, primates, teaching, theory of mind

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2021 Print ISBN-13: 9780198844570
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2021 DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198844570.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

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