The role of PFC networks in cognitive control and executive function.

Menon, V, D'Esposito M.  2021.  The role of PFC networks in cognitive control and executive function., 2021 Aug 18. Neuropsychopharmacology : official publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology.


Systems neuroscience approaches with a focus on large-scale brain organization and network analysis are advancing foundational knowledge of how cognitive control processes are implemented in the brain. Over the past decade, technological and computational innovations in the study of brain connectivity have led to advances in our understanding of how brain networks function, inspiring new conceptualizations of the role of prefrontal cortex (PFC) networks in the coordination of cognitive control. In this review, we describe six key PFC networks involved in cognitive control and elucidate key principles relevant for understanding how these networks implement cognitive control. Implementation of cognitive control in a constantly changing environment depends on the dynamic and flexible organization of PFC networks. In this context, we describe major empirical and theoretical models that have emerged in recent years and describe how their functional architecture and dynamic organization supports flexible cognitive control. We take an overarching view of advances made in the past few decades and consider fundamental issues regarding PFC network function, global brain dynamics, and cognition that still need to be resolved. We conclude by clarifying important future directions for research on cognitive control and their implications for advancing our understanding of PFC networks in brain disorders.