Human prefrontal lesions increase distractibility to irrelevant sensory inputs

Neuroreport. 1995 Aug 21;6(12):1605-10. doi: 10.1097/00001756-199508000-00005.


Neurological patients with focal lesions in either the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, temporal-parietal junction or the posterior hippocampus, and control subjects, were tested on a task requiring short-term retention of environmental sounds. Subjects had to indicate whether initial and subsequent test sounds were identical in two conditions. The initial and test sounds were separated by either a silent period varying from 4 to 12.6 s (no-distractor condition) or a series of irrelevant tones (distractor condition). Prefrontal patients were significantly impaired by distractors at all delays, hippocampal patients were impaired only at longer delays, while temporal-parietal patients performed similar to controls. The findings suggest that dorsolateral prefrontal cortex is crucial for gating of distracting information during delay tasks.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Brain Mapping
  • Cerebrovascular Disorders / pathology*
  • Female
  • Hippocampus / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Memory, Short-Term
  • Middle Aged
  • Neurons, Afferent*
  • Prefrontal Cortex / pathology*
  • Task Performance and Analysis
  • Time Factors