The frontal lobes

Teresa Torralva, Ezequiel Gleichgerrcht, Agustin Ibañez, Facundo Manes

The frontal lobes


Oxford Textbook of Cognitive Neurology and Dementia. Oxford University Press. Jun 2016


The frontal lobes are crucial in understanding our identity as human beings, our motivations, our ambitions and our essence. Their extensive and complex neural connections enable a wide range of functions, including abstract reasoning, mental flexibility, inhibitory control, problem solving, multitasking, memory, theory of mind and empathy, among several others. A large number of recent research has transformed our understanding of this fascinating portion of our brains using a variety of techniques. This chapter aims to provide a succinct but in-depth summary of the myriad of studies exploring different processes within the frontal lobes. It will begin by introducing the general aspects of the evolution of the frontal lobe, reviewing the basic neuroanatomy of this region, its underlying neurochemistry and the understanding of the cortical and subcortical circuits. Then we will explore the main cognitive functions that strongly depend on the frontal lobes and in turn will summarize the contemporary theories and models of frontal lobe functioning, including the multiple demands system and the adaptive coding model, the attention control model , The hypothesis of somatic markers, and the model of temporal organization.

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