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Self Control in Society, Mind, and Brain$
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Ran Hassin, Kevin Ochsner, and Yaacov Trope

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780195391381

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195391381.001.0001

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Anterior Cingulate Cortex Contributions to Cognitive and Emotional Processing: A General Purpose Mechanism for Cognitive Control and Self-Control

Anterior Cingulate Cortex Contributions to Cognitive and Emotional Processing: A General Purpose Mechanism for Cognitive Control and Self-Control

Chapter:
(p.3) CHAPTER 1 Anterior Cingulate Cortex Contributions to Cognitive and Emotional Processing: A General Purpose Mechanism for Cognitive Control and Self-Control
Source:
Self Control in Society, Mind, and Brain
Author(s):

Marie K. Krug

Cameron S. Carter

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195391381.003.0001

This chapter addresses the topic of self-control from the perspective of conflict theory, a well-studied framework for understanding the behavioral and neural adaptation effects seen during the performance of a selective attention task. We begin with an in-depth explanation of conflict theory and a review of recent literature in support of this theory. We explain how the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) monitors for processing or response conflict and recruits dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) to resolve these conflicts, increasing attention to goal-related stimuli and adaptively improving behavioral performance. Next, we review alternative theories and explanations of cognitive control and compare them to conflict theory. Finally, we focus on the recent application of conflict theory to the understanding of a wide range of mental processes including emotion regulation and appraisal as well as social cognitive phenomena such as moral reasoning and attitudes, social exclusion, and cognitive dissonance. We conclude that conflict theory, a mechanistic framework originally designed to account for cognitive control functions related to attention, also shows promise in its ability to elucidate higher-level emotional and social behaviors and their associated neural activity. We propose that this model should be considered in future studies of processes related to self-control.

Keywords:   anterior cingulate cortex, attention, cognitive control, cognitive dissonance, conflict adaptation, conflict theory, dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, emotional conflict, emotional processing, fMRI, response conflict, social cognition

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