Format

Send to

Choose Destination
Elife. 2016 Mar 21;5. pii: e12112. doi: 10.7554/eLife.12112.

The hierarchical organization of the lateral prefrontal cortex.

Author information

1
Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute, University of California, Berkeley, United States.
2
Department of Psychology, University of California, Berkeley, United States.

Abstract

Higher-level cognition depends on the lateral prefrontal cortex (LPFC), but its functional organization has remained elusive. An influential proposal is that the LPFC is organized hierarchically whereby progressively rostral areas of the LPFC process/represent increasingly abstract information facilitating efficient and flexible cognition. However, support for this theory has been limited. Here, human fMRI data revealed rostral/caudal gradients of abstraction in the LPFC. Dynamic causal modeling revealed asymmetrical LPFC interactions indicative of hierarchical processing. Contrary to dominant assumptions, the relative strength of efferent versus afferent connections positioned mid LPFC as the apex of the hierarchy. Furthermore, cognitive demands induced connectivity modulations towards mid LPFC consistent with a role in integrating information for control operations. Moreover, the strengths of these dynamics were related to trait-measured higher-level cognitive ability. Collectively, these results suggest that the LPFC is hierarchically organized with the mid LPFC positioned to synthesize abstract and concrete information to control behavior.

KEYWORDS:

PFC; cognitive control; executive function; fMRI; hierarchy; human; neuroscience; working memory

PMID:
26999822
PMCID:
PMC4811776
DOI:
10.7554/eLife.12112
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for eLife Sciences Publications, Ltd Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center