The neuropsychology of the prefrontal cortex

Arch Neurol. 1993 Jun;50(6):636-42. doi: 10.1001/archneur.1993.00540060066020.


Single photon emission computed tomography with the xenon inhalation technique is used to compare activation of regional cerebral blood flow in frontal brain regions during the performance of four widely used neuropsychological tests: the Continuous Performance Test, the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test, the Tower of London, and Porteus Mazes. Healthy normal volunteers performing these tasks show significant increases in frontal regions during the Continuous Performance Test, the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test, and the Tower of London, but not the Porteus Mazes. Activation produced by the Continuous Performance Test and the Tower of London are mesial and bilateral and may reflect stimulation of midline attentional circuits. The Wisconsin Card Sorting Test produces a left dorsolateral area of prefrontal activation. These findings indicate that regional activation of the frontal lobes occurs in response to cognitive challenges produced through performance of standard neuropsychological tests.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cerebrovascular Circulation*
  • Cognition
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests*
  • Prefrontal Cortex / blood supply
  • Prefrontal Cortex / diagnostic imaging
  • Prefrontal Cortex / physiology*
  • Regional Blood Flow
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed, Single-Photon