Cognitive Control (Executive Function): Role of Prefrontal Cortex

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


Cognitive control is the ability to direct mental function and behavior in accord with internally represented intentions or goals. This ability is fundamental to all higher cognitive faculties, such as language, reasoning, problem solving, and social behavior. While this ability no doubt relies on interactions between many areas of the brain, neuropsychological, neurophysiological, neuroimaging, and neural network modeling studies all indicate strongly that the prefrontal cortex plays a critical role in cognitive control. This article reviews these findings briefly, and suggests that the prefrontal cortex executes control by guiding the flow of neural activity along pathways in other parts of the brain responsible for performing an intended task.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationInternational Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences: Second Edition
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages5
ISBN (Electronic)9780080970875
ISBN (Print)9780080970868
StatePublished - Mar 26 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Social Sciences


  • Central executive
  • Guided Activation Model
  • Prefrontal cortex (PFC)
  • Stroop task
  • Supervisory Attentional System (SAS)
  • Working memory


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