Controlling one’s world: Identification of sub-regions of primate PFC underlying goal-directed behavior.


Impaired detection of causal relationships between actions and their outcomes can lead to maladaptive behavior. However, causal roles of specific prefrontal cortex (PFC) sub-regions and the caudate nucleus in mediating such relationships in primates are unclear. We inactivated and overactivated five PFC sub-regions, reversibly and pharmacologically: areas 24 (perigenual anterior cingulate cortex), 32 (medial PFC), 11 (anterior orbitofrontal cortex, OFC), 14 (rostral ventromedial PFC/medial OFC), and 14-25 (caudal ventromedial PFC) and the anteromedial caudate to examine their role in expressing learned action-outcome contingencies using a contingency degradation paradigm in marmoset monkeys. Area 24 or caudate inactivation impaired the response to contingency change, while area 11 inactivation enhanced it, and inactivation of areas 14, 32, or 14-25 had no effect. Overactivation of areas 11 and 24 impaired this response. These findings demonstrate the distinct roles of PFC sub-regions in goal-directed behavior and illuminate the candidate neurobehavioral substrates of psychiatric disorders, including obsessive-compulsive disorder.