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Trends Cogn Sci. 2004 Apr;8(4):170-7.

Inhibition and the right inferior frontal cortex.

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Department of Experimental Psychology, Downing Street, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB2 3EB, UK. <>


It is controversial whether different cognitive functions can be mapped to discrete regions of the prefrontal cortex (PFC). The localisationist tradition has associated one cognitive function - inhibition - by turns with dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), inferior frontal cortex (IFC), or orbital frontal cortex (OFC). Inhibition is postulated to be a mechanism by which PFC exerts its effects on subcortical and posterior-cortical regions to implement executive control. We review evidence concerning inhibition of responses and task-sets. Whereas neuroimaging implicates diverse PFC foci, advances in human lesion-mapping support the functional localization of such inhibition to right IFC alone. Future research should investigate the generality of this proposed inhibitory function to other task domains, and its interaction within a wider network.

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