Functions of the prefrontal cortex in the human brain
The prefrontal cortex of the human brain is affected by various pathological conditions, and for the apparent theoretical gains and clinical benefits, brain scientists and clinicians alike have for decades endeavored to understand the precise role of this region of the brain. Recent findings in electrophysiological and functional neuroimaging studies provide a better insight into the neuronal activities during various cognitive processes performed by the prefrontal cortex. Nevertheless, some of these findings are at odds with others, and the theorized roles of the prefrontal cortex remain largely under dispute. On the clinical side, a longer history of research provides a wealth of symptom descriptions on the multifaceted prefrontal dysfunction. In the midst of this abundance, however, there still exists a need for coherent categorization of these seemingly disparate symptoms. This task could be done based on the nature of affected cognitive processes and their putative neural substrates. With this view in mind, the present article selectively reviews major anatomical evidence and experimental data together with clinical observations on prefrontal patients in an attempt to integrate findings in science with behavioral data and ultimately to propose a model of functional organization within the prefrontal cortex.