Concept-based behavioral planning and the lateral prefrontal cortex

Trends Cogn Sci. 2007 Dec;11(12):528-34. doi: 10.1016/j.tics.2007.09.007. Epub 2007 Nov 19.


Many lines of evidence implicate the lateral prefrontal cortex (LPFC) in the executive control of behavior. In early studies, neuronal activity in this area was thought to retain information about forthcoming movements for a short period until they were executed. However, later studies have stressed its role in the cognitive aspects of behavioral planning, such as behavioral significance, behavioral rules and behavioral goals. The consequence of the intended action (i.e. a change in the state of the target object), rather than the intended movement, is primarily represented in the LPFC during planning. Recent studies show that the LPFC is involved in more abstract aspects of conceptual processes, such as in representing categories of multiple actions at the stage of behavioral planning.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Behavior / physiology*
  • Concept Formation / physiology*
  • Decision Making
  • Goals
  • Humans
  • Motor Skills / physiology
  • Prefrontal Cortex / physiology*
  • Problem Solving / physiology*