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J Physiol Paris. 2006 Jun;99(4-6):308-17. Epub 2006 Jun 5.

Planning and problem solving: from neuropsychology to functional neuroimaging.

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Neuropsychology, Department of Psychology, University of Freiburg, Germany.


This article provides an overview of recent research on human planning and problem solving. As an introduction, these two cognitive domains will be described and discussed from the perspective of experimental and cognitive psychology. The following sections will focus on the role of the prefrontal cortex in planning and problem solving and on disorders of these functions in patients with frontal-lobe lesions. Specific emphasis will be placed on the Tower of London task, a well established and widely used neuropsychological test of planning ability. We will present an overview of recent behavioural and neuroimaging studies that have employed the Tower of London task to draw specific conclusions about the likely neural and cognitive basis of planning function. Finally, we turn to a number of new directions and recent studies exploring different aspects of planning and problem solving and their association to related cognitive dimensions.

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