Dissociable roles of prefrontal and anterior cingulate cortices in deception

Cereb Cortex. 2006 Feb;16(2):192-9. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhi097. Epub 2005 Apr 27.


Recent neuroimaging studies have shown the importance of the prefrontal and anterior cingulate cortices in deception. However, little is known about the role of each of these regions during deception. Using positron emission tomography (PET), we measured brain activation while participants told truths or lies about two types of real-world events: experienced and unexperienced. The imaging data revealed that activity of the dorsolateral, ventrolateral and medial prefrontal cortices was commonly associated with both types of deception (pretending to know and pretending not to know), whereas activity of the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) was only associated with pretending not to know. Regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) increase in the ACC was positively correlated with that in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex only during pretending not to know. These results suggest that the lateral and medial prefrontal cortices have general roles in deception, whereas the ACC contributes specifically to pretending not to know.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Brain Mapping / methods
  • Deception*
  • Dissociative Disorders / diagnostic imaging*
  • Dissociative Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Evoked Potentials
  • Gyrus Cinguli / diagnostic imaging*
  • Gyrus Cinguli / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Lie Detection
  • Male
  • Prefrontal Cortex / diagnostic imaging*
  • Prefrontal Cortex / physiopathology*
  • Radionuclide Imaging