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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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Dissociating executive functions of the prefrontal cortex

Dissociating executive functions of the prefrontal cortex

(p.117) 9 Dissociating executive functions of the prefrontal cortex
The Prefrontal Cortex

T. W. Robbins

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the executive functioning that is required when effective new plans of action have to be formulated, and appropriate sequences of responses must be selected and scheduled. The chapter presents the neuropsychological evidence consistent with the hypothesis that the prefrontal cortex plays a major and specific role in response selection processes. These response selection processes are sensitive to inhibitory influences at several functional levels, including mechanisms by which the effects of particular associations of stimuli with reward, and the superordinate effects of stimulus categories or dimensions, are attenuated, hence facilitating the expression of voluntary behaviour in novel circumstances. These dissociable aspects of executive function appear to be mediated by distinct neural systems that engage different regions of the prefrontal cortex.

Keywords:   executive function, neuropsychological evidence, cortex, response selection, neural system

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