A Brief Anatomical Sketch of Human Ventromedial Prefrontal Cortex

Description: The ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) is a major focus of investigation in human neuroscience, particularly in studies of emotion, social cognition, and decision making. Although the term vmPFC is widely used, the zone is not precisely defined, and for varied reasons has proven a complicated region to study. A difficulty identifying precise boundaries for the vmPFC comes partly from varied use of the term, sometimes including and sometimes excluding ventral parts of anterior cingulate cortex and medial parts of orbitofrontal cortex. These discrepancies can arise both from the need to refer to distinct sub-regions within a larger area of prefrontal cortex, and from the spatially imprecise nature of research methods such as human neuroimaging and natural lesions. The inexactness of the term is not necessarily an impediment, although the heterogeneity of the region can impact functional interpretation. Here we briefly address research that has helped delineate sub-regions of the human vmPFC, we then discuss patterns of white matter connectivity with other regions of the brain and how they begin to inform functional roles within vmPFC. source: Bhanji, Smith, Delgado (Supplement 1 from Nature Neuroscience volume 19, pages 1545–1552 (2016))

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