Conflict-induced behavioural adjustment: a clue to the executive functions of the prefrontal cortex

Nat Rev Neurosci. 2009 Feb;10(2):141-52. doi: 10.1038/nrn2538.


The behavioural adjustment that follows the experience of conflict has been extensively studied in humans, leading to influential models of executive-control adjustment. Recent studies have revealed striking similarities in conflict-induced behavioural adjustment between humans and monkeys, indicating that monkeys can provide a model to study the underlying neural substrates and mechanisms of such behaviour. These studies have advanced our knowledge about the role of different prefrontal brain regions, including the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) and the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), in executive-control adjustment and suggest a pivotal role for the DLPFC in the dynamic tuning of executive control and, consequently, in behavioural adaptation to changing environments.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological / physiology*
  • Behavior / physiology*
  • Conflict, Psychological*
  • Humans
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Prefrontal Cortex / physiology*
  • Problem Solving / physiology*