Show Summary Details
Page of

Prefrontal Cortex 

Prefrontal Cortex
Chapter:
Prefrontal Cortex
Author(s):

Xiao-Jing Wang

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780195389883.003.0006
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD MEDICINE ONLINE (www.oxfordmedicine.com). © Oxford University Press, 2016. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Medicine Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

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.

Access to the complete content on Oxford Medicine Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.