Inhibition and the right inferior frontal cortex

Trends Cogn Sci. 2004 Apr;8(4):170-7. doi: 10.1016/j.tics.2004.02.010.


It is controversial whether different cognitive functions can be mapped to discrete regions of the prefrontal cortex (PFC). The localisationist tradition has associated one cognitive function - inhibition - by turns with dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), inferior frontal cortex (IFC), or orbital frontal cortex (OFC). Inhibition is postulated to be a mechanism by which PFC exerts its effects on subcortical and posterior-cortical regions to implement executive control. We review evidence concerning inhibition of responses and task-sets. Whereas neuroimaging implicates diverse PFC foci, advances in human lesion-mapping support the functional localization of such inhibition to right IFC alone. Future research should investigate the generality of this proposed inhibitory function to other task domains, and its interaction within a wider network.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Decision Making / physiology*
  • Frontal Lobe / anatomy & histology
  • Frontal Lobe / physiology*
  • Functional Laterality / physiology*
  • Haplorhini
  • Humans
  • Inhibition, Psychological
  • Neural Inhibition / physiology*
  • Prefrontal Cortex / anatomy & histology
  • Prefrontal Cortex / physiology
  • Recognition, Psychology / physiology*