The Posterior Frontomedial Cortex (pFMC)
pFMC and performance monitoring: increased activity in the rostral cingulate zone
Results from neuroimaging, event-related potential (ERP) and intracranial measurements in humans and non-human primates suggest that the posterior frontomedial cortex plays a central role in performance monitoring:
A meta-analysis of fMRI data demonstrated consistent activation increases in the so-called rostral cingulate zone (RCZ) when subjects committed errors, received negative feedback, experienced decision uncertainty or response conflict.
The RCZ is part of the pFMC. It is located in the anterior supracallosal portion of the sulcus cinguli at the junction of the Brodmann areas 24c, 32, 6 and 8. The RCZ is proposed to be the human analog of the rostral cingulate motor division in non-human primates.
Investigators of performance monitoring generally assume that the pFMC signalizes the need for adjustments when action outcomes do not correspond with intentions or when chances are low that a desired result will be achieved. Thus, according to this view, the pFMC plays a central roll in the optimization of action outcomes.
Dopamine: essential for error detection and behavioral adjustment?
Several currently influential theories of performance monitoring postulate that the neurotransmitter dopamine is essential for error detection and subsequent behavioral adjustments. According to these theories, negative action outcomes such as errors lead to short phasic decreases in the activity of mesencephalic dopaminergic neurons. This dopaminergic error signal is then transmitted to the RCZ. The resulting RCZ activity increase can be measured on the scalp surface as the ERN (error-related negativity).
A central goal of the Cognitive Neurology lab is to experimentally demonstrate the crucial roll of dopamine in human performance monitoring. Furthermore, we strive to investigate the interaction of dopamine with other neurotransmitters in functions associated with performance monitoring. By employing the methods of EEG, fMRI and PET with genotyped individuals and in psychopharmacological studies, we seek to answer difficult questions such as the complexities of dose/effect relationships of dopaminergic transmission in accomplishing performance monitoring.
Research topics in detail:
Kognitive Höchstleistungen im Alltag: Short movie
"Error Detection in the Gray Matter":
The complete data are published in Science magazine.
See also: New Press Releases