Integration of cognitive and motivational context information in the primate prefrontal cortex

Cereb Cortex. 2007 Sep:17 Suppl 1:i101-9. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhm067.


The prefrontal cortex (PFC) appears to be important for processing both cognitive and motivational context information. Primate lateral PFC (LPFC) neurons are involved in cognitive context-dependent stimulus coding by responding differently to an identical stimulus according to the task situation. Such context-dependent LPFC activity appears to be supported by context-representing activity, observed also in LPFC neurons, in which the baseline activity differs as a function of the task. In LPFC, there are also neurons that code stimulus on the basis of motivational context. This motivational context is represented in differential baseline activity as a function of the reward context. In the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC), there are neurons that code stimuli depending on the motivational context as well as neurons that represent motivational context information. Furthermore, we found LPFC neurons that coded the stimulus depending on both the cognitive and motivational context, as well as LPFC neurons that represented both the cognitive and motivational context. For adaptive behavior, it is important to code the meaning of the environmental situation based on the context. While OFC is predominantly concerned with processing motivational context information, LPFC seems to play important roles in integrating the cognitive and motivational context for adaptive goal-directed behavior.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Motivation*
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Prefrontal Cortex / cytology
  • Prefrontal Cortex / physiology*
  • Primates / physiology*