Dissociable components of rule-guided behavior depend on distinct medial and prefrontal regions

Science. 2009 Jul 3;325(5936):52-8. doi: 10.1126/science.1172377.


Much of our behavior is guided by rules. Although human prefrontal cortex (PFC) and anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) are implicated in implementing rule-guided behavior, the crucial contributions made by different regions within these areas are not yet specified. In an attempt to bridge human neuropsychology and nonhuman primate neurophysiology, we report the effects of circumscribed lesions to macaque orbitofrontal cortex (OFC), principal sulcus (PS), superior dorsolateral PFC, ventrolateral PFC, or ACC sulcus, on separable cognitive components of a Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (WCST) analog. Only the PS lesions impaired maintenance of abstract rules in working memory; only the OFC lesions impaired rapid reward-based updating of representations of rule value; the ACC sulcus lesions impaired active reference to the value of recent choice-outcomes during rule-based decision-making.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal*
  • Brain Mapping
  • Cues
  • Decision Making*
  • Frontal Lobe / physiology
  • Learning*
  • Macaca
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Memory, Short-Term
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Prefrontal Cortex / physiology*
  • Reinforcement, Psychology
  • Reward