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Neuroimage. 2014 Jan 1;84:1053-60. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2013.09.031. Epub 2013 Sep 21.

Testing the model of caudo-rostral organization of cognitive control in the human with frontal lesions.

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Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale, Centre de Recherche de l'Institut du Cerveau et de la Moelle épinière (CRICM), U-975, Université Pierre et Marie Curie - Paris 6, UMRS 975, Paris, France; AP-HP, Groupe hospitalier Pitié-Salpêtrière, Fédération de Neurologie, Institut de la Mémoire, Paris F-75013, France; AP-HP, Hôpital Saint-Antoine, Service de Neurologie, Paris F-75012, France; CNRS, UMR 7225, Paris, France. Electronic address:


The cascade model of cognitive control, mostly relying on functional neuroimaging studies, stipulates that the lateral frontal cortex (LFC) is organized as a cascade of executive processes involving three levels of cognitive control, implemented in distinct LFC areas from the premotor to the anterior prefrontal regions. The present experiment tested this model in patients with LFC lesions and studied the hierarchy of executive functions along the caudo-rostral axis, i.e. the respective roles of the different LFC areas in the control of behavior. Voxel-based lesion-symptom mapping and region of interest group analyses were conducted in 32 patients with focal LFC lesions who performed cognitive tasks assessing the cascade model. We first showed that three different LFC areas along the caudo-rostral axis subserved three distinct control levels, whose integrity is necessary for adaptive behavior. Second, we found that prefrontal cognitive control has an asymmetric organization: higher control processes involving more anterior prefrontal regions rely on the integrity of lower control processes in more posterior regions, while lower control processes can operate irrespective of the integrity of higher control processes. Altogether, these findings support a caudo-rostral cascade of executive processes from premotor to anterior prefrontal regions.


Executive functions; Human behavior; Lesion study; Prefrontal cortex; Voxel-based lesion symptom mapping

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