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Science. 2010 Sep 17;329(5998):1541-3. doi: 10.1126/science.1191883.

Relating introspective accuracy to individual differences in brain structure.

Author information

1
Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging, University College London, 12 Queen Square, London WC1N 3BG, UK. s.fleming@fil.ion.ucl.ac.uk

Erratum in

  • Science. 2012 May 11;336(6082):670.

Abstract

The ability to introspect about self-performance is key to human subjective experience, but the neuroanatomical basis of this ability is unknown. Such accurate introspection requires discriminating correct decisions from incorrect ones, a capacity that varies substantially across individuals. We dissociated variation in introspective ability from objective performance in a simple perceptual-decision task, allowing us to determine whether this interindividual variability was associated with a distinct neural basis. We show that introspective ability is correlated with gray matter volume in the anterior prefrontal cortex, a region that shows marked evolutionary development in humans. Moreover, interindividual variation in introspective ability is also correlated with white-matter microstructure connected with this area of the prefrontal cortex. Our findings point to a focal neuroanatomical substrate for introspective ability, a substrate distinct from that supporting primary perception.

PMID:
20847276
PMCID:
PMC3173849
DOI:
10.1126/science.1191883
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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