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Prefrontal Cortex 

Prefrontal Cortex
Prefrontal Cortex

Xiao-Jing Wang

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date: 09 December 2019

The prefrontal cortex is a vital cortical substrate for higher brain functions and flexible control of behavior. The functional versatility of the prefrontal cortex owns in part to its extensive input–output connections with the rest of the brain. Sufficiently strong and slow recurrent synaptic connections endow the prefrontal circuits with the ability to maintain self-sustained persistent neural activity underlying working memory, and to carry out slow time integration of information during decision-making. Excitation is balanced by inhibition mediated by several types of inhibitory interneurons, which display a different distribution in the prefrontal cortex from early sensory areas and which are important for such processes as filtering out distracting stimuli, generating competition in selective attention, or choosing among response alternatives. Therefore, whereas the prefrontal cortex may share a similar layout as other cortical areas, quantitative differences in their microcircuit properties give rise to qualitatively different functions of critical importance to cognition.

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