Social and emotional decision-making following frontal lobe injury

Neurocase. 2004 Oct;10(5):398-403. doi: 10.1080/13554790490882799.


Neuropsychological, psychophysiological and functional imaging research has begun to offer insights into the everyday difficulties in decision-making experienced by some patients with frontal lobe damage. It is widely accepted that the ventral prefrontal cortex plays a pivotal role in social and emotional decision-making. This article will review experimental findings using the Iowa Gambling Task and the Cambridge Gamble Task that explore the brain mechanisms of decision-making. Convergent evidence from the two tasks confirms the importance of ventral PFC, but also highlights the relevance of lesion laterality, lesion aetiology, and the contribution of other brain regions (including the dorsal prefrontal cortex and amygdala) to decision-making abilities. The extent to which disrupted decision-making can be separated from the broader domain of executive function is discussed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain Injuries / pathology
  • Brain Injuries / psychology*
  • Decision Making / physiology*
  • Emotions / physiology*
  • Frontal Lobe / injuries*
  • Frontal Lobe / pathology
  • Functional Laterality / physiology
  • Humans
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Psychomotor Performance
  • Social Behavior*