Theta burst stimulation dissociates attention and action updating in human inferior frontal cortex

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2010 Aug 3;107(31):13966-71. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1001957107. Epub 2010 Jul 14.


Everyday circumstances require efficient updating of behavior. Brain systems in the right inferior frontal cortex have been identified as critical for some aspects of behavioral updating, such as stopping actions. However, the precise role of these neural systems is controversial. Here we examined how the inferior frontal cortex updates behavior by combining reversible cortical interference (transcranial magnetic stimulation) with an experimental task that measures different types of updating. We found that the right inferior frontal cortex can be functionally segregated into two subregions: a dorsal region, which is critical for visual detection of changes in the environment, and a ventral region, which updates the corresponding action plan. This dissociation reconciles competing accounts of prefrontal organization and casts light on the neural architecture of human cognitive control.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attention*
  • Cognition*
  • Female
  • Frontal Lobe / physiology*
  • Functional Laterality
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Young Adult