The Prefrontal Cortex and Decision-Making Essay

The Prefrontal Cortex and Decision-Making Essay

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According to Price, Rosenbloom, & Schmahmann (2012) “The importance of this cognitive process is evidenced by the fact that approximately 40% of deaths results from decision-making deficits at the most basic level of self-regulation” (p. 266). Through my chosen articles I found that the Prefrontal Cortex is the major portion of the brain that is responsible for decision-making. To understand the decision-making process better the prefrontal Cortex can be divided into three regions: the Orbitofrontal Cortex, the Anterior Cingulate Cortex, and the Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex. Each of these areas contributes to different decision-making sub-processes, which in turn make up the distinctive aspects of the decision-making process. In addition to the anatomical structures involved in decision making there have been recent findings that the neurotransmitter dopamine may play an active role in the decision-making process in its’ association with the Anterior Cingulate Cortex and the Nucleus Accumbens. Through cortico-cortical and cortico-subcortical connections these areas are dependent on each other when making a decision (Price et al., 2012, p. 267)
The Orbitofrontal Cortex is located on the superior portion of the orbit, on top of the ventral surface of the frontal lobes. The Anterior Cingulate Cortex and the Frontal Polar Cortex connect with the Orbitofrontal Cortex to create the Ventromedial Prefrontal Cortex. In the decision-making process the Orbitofrontal Cortex and the Ventromedial Prefrontal Cortex use reward values and affective information to make decisions. Acting as an integration center for emotion and reward processing the Ventromedial Prefrontal Cortex is responsible for the emotional experience associated with the gain...

... middle of paper ...

...cting options and monitors possible outcome information. As you can see each system contributes uniquely to the many different processes involved in decision-making. Although studies have found that the neurotransmitter dopamine is important in the decision-making process, there are no definite results that prove this theory.

Works Cited

Krawczyk, D. C. (2002) Contributions of the prefrontal Cortex to the neural basis of human decision making. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews. 26 (2002) 631-664.

Price, B. H., Rosenbloom, M. H., Schmahmann, J. D. (2012). The functional neuroanatomy of decision-making. The Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences. 24 (3), 266-277.

Assadi, S. M., Pantelis, C., Yucel, M. (2009). Dopamine modulates neural networks involved in effort-based decision-making. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Review. 33 (2009) 383-393

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