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The Prefrontal CortexExecutive and Cognitive Functions$
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A. C. Roberts, T. W. Robbins, and L. Weiskrantz

Print publication date: 1998

Print ISBN-13: 9780198524410

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198524410.001.0001

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The somatic marker hypothesis and the possible functions of the prefrontal cortex

The somatic marker hypothesis and the possible functions of the prefrontal cortex

(p.36) 4 The somatic marker hypothesis and the possible functions of the prefrontal cortex
The Prefrontal Cortex

Antonio R. Damasio

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the somatic marker hypothesis, which is concerned with the possible role of some regions of the prefrontal cortex in the processes of reasoning and decision-making. It elaborates several reviews in which the hypothesis and its preliminary testing in form and substance have been presented. The hypothesis developed as a response to a number of intriguing observations made in neurological patients with focal damage in the frontal lobe. The chapter further outlines the somatic marker hypothesis, as part of a framework to account for the neurological condition, and describes new laboratory probes designed to detect and measure aspects of this condition. It concludes that the hypothesis should not be seen as a general theory for how prefrontal cortices work as, in all likelihood, this large and parcellated sector of the brain accomplishes several separate albeit cooperative functions.

Keywords:   somatic marker, hypothesis, prefrontal cortex, reasoning, decision making, neurological condition, focal damage, frontal lobe

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