Prefrontal cortex and flexible cognitive control: Rules without symbols

N. P. Rougier, D. C. Noelle, T. S. Braver, J. D. Cohen, R. C. O'Reilly
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 2005-05-09; 102(20): 7338-7343
DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0502455102

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1. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2005 May 17;102(20):7338-43. Epub 2005 May 9.

Prefrontal cortex and flexible cognitive control: rules without symbols.

Rougier NP(1), Noelle DC, Braver TS, Cohen JD, O’Reilly RC.

Author information:
(1)Department of Psychology, University of Colorado, 345 UCB, Boulder, CO 80309,

Human cognitive control is uniquely flexible and has been shown to depend on
prefrontal cortex (PFC). But exactly how the biological mechanisms of the PFC
support flexible cognitive control remains a profound mystery. Existing
theoretical models have posited powerful task-specific PFC representations, but
not how these develop. We show how this can occur when a set of PFC-specific
neural mechanisms interact with breadth of experience to self organize abstract
rule-like PFC representations that support flexible generalization in novel
tasks. The same model is shown to apply to benchmark PFC tasks (Stroop and
Wisconsin card sorting), accurately simulating the behavior of neurologically
intact and frontally damaged people.

DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0502455102
PMCID: PMC1129132
PMID: 15883365 [Indexed for MEDLINE]

Auteurs Bordeaux Neurocampus