Computational models of cognitive control

Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2010 Apr;20(2):257-61. doi: 10.1016/j.conb.2010.01.008. Epub 2010 Feb 23.


Cognitive control refers to the ability to perform task-relevant processing in the face of other distractions or other forms of interference, in the absence of strong environmental support. It depends on the integrity of the prefrontal cortex and associated biological structures (e.g., the basal ganglia). Computational models have played an influential role in developing our understanding of this system, and we review current developments in three major areas: dynamic gating of prefrontal representations, hierarchies in the prefrontal cortex, and reward, motivation, and goal-related processing in prefrontal cortex. Models in these and other areas are advancing the field further forward.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Computer Simulation*
  • Executive Function / physiology*
  • Goals
  • Humans
  • Motivation / physiology
  • Neural Pathways / anatomy & histology
  • Neural Pathways / physiology
  • Prefrontal Cortex / physiology*
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology