Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex

Last update: September 15, 2022
By BrainMatters


Together, areas BA9 and BA46 are called the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC). They are involved in working memory, attention, self-control, and telling lies or truth. Damage can lead to the disexecutive syndrome.


These areas play a role in a variety of executive functions, such as maintaining attention and in working memory. For example, working memory is keeping a phone number in mind: not always easy. It should be noted here that these areas are not solely responsible for performing these types of actions. There must always be interaction with other cortical and subcortical structures. So it is actually a bit of an organizing brain area: the executive director.


BA 9 and BA 46 lie next to each other on the surface of the frontal cortex. Together they form the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex.


These brain regions are also associated with deception, and telling lies. By nature, people have a tendency to tell the truth, but this tendency can be suppressed, thanks in part to activity in these brain areas, it seems. If this brain area is temporarily turned off it might become difficult to tell lies anymore.


Damage to this region can cause disexecutive syndrome. This is a collection of cognitive, behavioral, and emotional problems that often occur together. Examples of cognitive symptoms are worse working memory and worse short-term memory. This is associated with a shorter attention span, and these people are then easily distracted. On an emotional level, these people often have difficulty suppressing emotions such as anger or aggression, which makes normal social contacts difficult. In terms of behavior, these people often get stuck in one particular action, for example, during a test they keep mentioning animal names when in fact they have already moved on to mentioning colors.

Author: Myrthe Princen (translated by Thomas von Rein)

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