Cognitive control in social situations: a role for the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex.


Journal Article

Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), we investigated brain activity elicited by a computer-animated child's actions that appeared consistent and inconsistent with a computer-animated adult's instructions. Participants observed a computer-animated adult verbally instructing a computer-animated child to touch one of two objects. The child performed correctly in half of the trials and incorrectly in the other half. We observed significantly greater activity when the child performed incorrectly compared to correctly in regions of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) that have been implicated in maintaining our intentions in working memory and implementing cognitive control. However, no such effects were found in regions of the posterior superior temporal sulcus (posterior STS) that have been posited to interpret other people's behavior. These findings extend the role of the DLPFC in cognitive control to evaluating the social outcomes of other people's behavior and provide important new constraints for theories of how the posterior STS contributes to social cognition.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Weissman, DH; Perkins, AS; Woldorff, MG

Published Date

  • April 1, 2008

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 40 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 955 - 962

PubMed ID

  • 18234518

Pubmed Central ID

  • 18234518

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1053-8119

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2007.12.021


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States