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Trends Cogn Sci. 2011 Apr;15(4):169-76. doi: 10.1016/j.tics.2011.02.001.

Frontal pole cortex: encoding ends at the end of the endbrain.

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Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory, Graduate School of Human Development and Environment, Kobe University, Nada-Ku, Kobe, Japan.


Considerable neuroimaging research in humans indicates that the frontal pole cortex (FPC), also known as Brodmann area 10, contributes to many aspects of cognition. Despite these findings, however, its fundamental function and mechanism remain unclear. Recent neurophysiological results from the FPC of monkeys have implications about both. Neurons in the FPC seem to encode chosen goals at feedback time and nothing else. Goals, the places and objects that serve as targets for action, come in many forms and arise from many cognitive processes. The FPC's signal, although surprisingly simple for neurons at the apex of a prefrontal hierarchy, could promote learning about which kinds of goals and goal-generating processes produce particular costs and benefits, thereby improving future choices.

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