What the orbitofrontal cortex does not do

Nat Neurosci. 2015 May;18(5):620-7. doi: 10.1038/nn.3982.


The number of papers about the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) has grown from 1 per month in 1987 to a current rate of over 50 per month. This publication stream has implicated the OFC in nearly every function known to cognitive neuroscience and in most neuropsychiatric diseases. However, new ideas about OFC function are typically based on limited data sets and often ignore or minimize competing ideas or contradictory findings. Yet true progress in our understanding of an area's function comes as much from invalidating existing ideas as proposing new ones. Here we consider the proposed roles for OFC, critically examining the level of support for these claims and highlighting the data that call them into question.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Decision Making / physiology
  • Emotions / physiology
  • Humans
  • Inhibition, Psychological
  • Judgment / physiology
  • Learning / physiology
  • Models, Neurological
  • Models, Psychological
  • Prefrontal Cortex / physiology*
  • Primates
  • Rats
  • Reward