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Measuring the Mind: Speed, control, and age$
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John Duncan, Louise Phillips, and Peter McLeod

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780198566427

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198566427.001.0001

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The gateway hypothesis of rostral prefrontal cortex (area 10) function

The gateway hypothesis of rostral prefrontal cortex (area 10) function

(p.217) Chapter 9 The gateway hypothesis of rostral prefrontal cortex (area 10) function
Measuring the Mind: Speed, control, and age

Paul W. Burgess

Jon S. Simons

Iroise Dumontheil

Sam J. Gilbert

Oxford University Press

The rostral prefrontal cortex (or Area 10) is a sizeable brain region that is especially large in humans compared with other animals, yet very little is known about what role it plays in cognition. This chapter contains three sections. The first reviews the existing empirical and theoretical evidence. The second presents a new theoretical account of its function that synthesises this evidence. The third section describes a recent series of experiments that demonstrate the plausibility of the theory. Rostral prefrontal cortex (rostral PFC) is identified as subserving a system that biases the relative influence of stimulus-oriented and stimulus-independent thought. This cognitive control function is used in a wide range of situations critical to competent human behaviour in everyday life, ranging from straightforward ‘watchfulness’ to complex activities such as remembering to carry out intended actions after a delay, multitasking, and aspects of recollection.

Keywords:   cognitive control, rostral PFC, stimulus-independent thought, recollection, multitasking

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