Scientific Understanding of Consciousness
Consciousness as an Emergent Property of Thalamocortical Activity

Prefrontal Cortex Functionally Compartmentalized




Science 7 November 1997: Vol. 278. no. 5340, pp. 1135 - 1138

Areal Segregation of Face-Processing Neurons in Prefrontal Cortex

Séamas P. Ó Scalaidhe, Fraser A. W. Wilson, Patricia S. Goldman-Rakic

Section of Neurobiology, Yale University Medical School, 333 Cedar Street, New Haven, CT 06510, USA.

A central issue in cognitive neuroscience concerns the functional architecture of the prefrontal cortex and the degree to which it is organized by sensory domain. To examine this issue, multiple areas of the macaque monkey prefrontal cortex were mapped for selective responses to visual stimuli that are prototypical of the brain's object vision pathway--pictorial representations of faces. Prefrontal neurons not only selectively process information related to the identity of faces but, importantly, such neurons are localized to a remarkably restricted area. These findings suggest that the prefrontal cortex is functionally compartmentalized with respect to the nature of its inputs.



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