Conflict monitoring and anterior cingulate cortex: an update

Trends Cogn Sci. 2004 Dec;8(12):539-46. doi: 10.1016/j.tics.2004.10.003.


One hypothesis concerning the human dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) is that it functions, in part, to signal the occurrence of conflicts in information processing, thereby triggering compensatory adjustments in cognitive control. Since this idea was first proposed, a great deal of relevant empirical evidence has accrued. This evidence has largely corroborated the conflict-monitoring hypothesis, and some very recent work has provided striking new support for the theory. At the same time, other findings have posed specific challenges, especially concerning the way the theory addresses the processing of errors. Recent research has also begun to shed light on the larger function of the ACC, suggesting some new possibilities concerning how conflict monitoring might fit into the cingulate's overall role in cognition and action.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Cognition / physiology
  • Conflict, Psychological*
  • Electroencephalography
  • Gyrus Cinguli / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Psychological Theory
  • Social Behavior*