A new perspective on the role of the orbitofrontal cortex in adaptive behaviour

Nat Rev Neurosci. 2009 Dec;10(12):885-92. doi: 10.1038/nrn2753. Epub 2009 Nov 11.


The orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) is crucial for changing established behaviour in the face of unexpected outcomes. This function has been attributed to the role of the OFC in response inhibition or to the idea that the OFC is a rapidly flexible associative-learning area. However, recent data contradict these accounts, and instead suggest that the OFC is crucial for signalling outcome expectancies. We suggest that this function--signalling of expected outcomes--can also explain the crucial role of the OFC in changing behaviour in the face of unexpected outcomes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Behavior / physiology
  • Behavior, Animal / physiology
  • Humans
  • Inhibition, Psychological
  • Prefrontal Cortex / physiology*