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Front Integr Neurosci. 2012 May 3;6:17. doi: 10.3389/fnint.2012.00017. eCollection 2012.

Unique and shared roles of the posterior parietal and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex in cognitive functions.

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  • 1Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem NC, USA.


The dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (PFC) and posterior parietal cortex (PPC) are two parts of a broader brain network involved in the control of cognitive functions such as working-memory, spatial attention, and decision-making. The two areas share many functional properties and exhibit similar patterns of activation during the execution of mental operations. However, neurophysiological experiments in non-human primates have also documented subtle differences, revealing functional specialization within the fronto-parietal network. These differences include the ability of the PFC to influence memory performance, attention allocation, and motor responses to a greater extent, and to resist interference by distracting stimuli. In recent years, distinct cellular and anatomical differences have been identified, offering insights into how functional specialization is achieved. This article reviews the common functions and functional differences between the PFC and PPC, and their underlying mechanisms.


attention; intraparietal sulcus; monkey; neuron; neurophysiology; persistent activity; principal sulcus

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