The will to persevere induced by electrical stimulation of the human cingulate gyrus

Neuron. 2013 Dec 18;80(6):1359-67. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2013.10.057. Epub 2013 Dec 5.


Anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) is known to be involved in functions such as emotion, pain, and cognitive control. While studies in humans and nonhuman mammals have advanced our understanding of ACC function, the subjective correlates of ACC activity have remained largely unexplored. In the current study, we show that electrical charge delivery in the anterior midcingulate cortex (aMCC) elicits autonomic changes and the expectation of an imminent challenge coupled with a determined attitude to overcome it. Seed-based, resting-state connectivity analysis revealed that the site of stimulation in both patients was at the core of a large-scale distributed network linking aMCC to the frontoinsular and frontopolar as well as some subcortical regions. This report provides compelling, first-person accounts of electrical stimulation of this brain network and suggests its possible involvement in psychopathological conditions that are characterized by a reduced capacity to endure psychological or physical distress.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Attitude*
  • Brain Mapping
  • Deep Brain Stimulation*
  • Gyrus Cinguli / physiology*
  • Heart Rate / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neural Pathways / physiology