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Dopamine and Cognitive Control in Prefrontal Cortex

Torben Ott, Andreas Nieder
Trends in Cognitive Sciences 2019, 23 (3): 213-234
30711326
Cognitive control, the ability to orchestrate behavior in accord with our goals, depends on the prefrontal cortex. These cognitive functions are heavily influenced by the neuromodulator dopamine. We review here recent insights exploring the influence of dopamine on neuronal response properties in prefrontal cortex (PFC) during ongoing behaviors in primates. This review suggests three major computational roles of dopamine in cognitive control: (i) gating sensory input, (ii) maintaining and manipulating working memory contents, and (iii) relaying motor commands. For each of these roles, we propose a neuronal microcircuit based on known mechanisms of action of dopamine in PFC, which are corroborated by computational network models. This conceptual approach accounts for the various roles of dopamine in prefrontal executive functioning.

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