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Neurosci Res. 2007 Feb;57(2):268-76. Epub 2006 Nov 29.

Effects of novelty on activity of lateral and medial prefrontal neurons.

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Cognitive Brain Mapping Laboratory, RIKEN Brain Science Institute, 2-1 Hirosawa, Wako, Saitama, Japan.


Detection of novel events is crucial for adapting to changing environments. The prefrontal cortex has been thought to be one of the areas involved in orienting attention to novel events. Here, we examined the effects of two components of novelty: context novelty, which purely happens when a familiar event occurs in an unpredicted situation or time and feature novelty, which happens by itself when an unfamiliar stimulus appears against the expectation of familiar ones. We trained monkeys on a task that included both novelty components and recorded the activity of neurons in the lateral and medial divisions of the prefrontal cortex. The responses of a substantial number of cells in both the lateral and medial divisions were enhanced when a familiar visual stimulus was presented in an unpredicted context. By contrast, enhancement of responses by the unfamiliarity of visual stimuli was observed mainly in cells in the lateral prefrontal cortex. These results suggest that the lateral and medial divisions of the prefrontal cortex are differentially involved in the control of attention triggered by novel sensory events.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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