The inferior frontal junction (IFJ) area, a small region in the posterior lateral prefrontal cortex (LPFC), has received increasing interest in recent years due to its central involvement in the control of action, attention, and memory. Yet, both its function and anatomy remain controversial. Here, we employed a meta-analytic parcellation of the left LPFC to show that the IFJ can be isolated based on its specific functional connections. A seed region, oriented along the left inferior frontal sulcus (IFS), was subdivided via cluster analyses of voxel-wise whole-brain co-activation patterns. The ensuing clusters were characterized by their unique connections, the functional profiles of associated experiments, and an independent topic mapping approach. A cluster at the posterior end of the IFS matched previous descriptions of the IFJ in location and extent and could be distinguished from a more caudal cluster involved in motor control, a more ventral cluster involved in linguistic processing, and 3 more rostral clusters involved in other aspects of cognitive control. Overall, our findings highlight that the IFJ constitutes a core functional unit within the frontal lobe and delineate its borders. Implications for the IFJ's role in human cognition and the organizational principles of the frontal lobe are discussed.
Keywords: cognitive control; inferior frontal junction; meta-analysis; prefrontal cortex.
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