Lesions to right prefrontal cortex impair real-world planning through prematurecommitments

Vinod Goel, Oshin Vartanian, Angela Bartolo, Lila Hakim, Anna Maria Ferraro, Valeria Isella, Ildebrando Appollonio, Silvia Drei, Paolo Nichelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

While it is well accepted that the left prefrontal cortex plays a critical role in planning and problem-solving tasks, very little is known about the role of the right prefrontal cortex. We addressed this issue by testing five neurological patients with focal lesions to right prefrontal cortex on a real-world travel planning task, and compared their performance with the performance of five neurological patients with focal lesions to left prefrontal cortex, five neurological patients with posterior lesions, and five normal controls. Only patients with lesions to right prefrontal cortex generated substandard solutions compared to normal controls. Examination of the underlying cognitive processes and strategies revealed that patients with lesions to right prefrontal cortex approached the task at an excessively precise, concrete level compared to normal controls, and very early locked themselves into substandard solutions relative to the comparison group. In contrast, the behavior of normal controls was characterized by a judicious interplay of concrete and abstract levels/modes of representations. We suggest that damage to the right prefrontal system impairs the encoding and processing of more abstract and vague representations that facilitate lateral transformations, resulting in premature commitment to precise concrete patterns, and hasty albeit substandard conclusions (because the space of possibilities has not been properly explored).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)713-724
Number of pages12
JournalNeuropsychologia
Volume51
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2013

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Prefrontal Cortex
Behavior Control
Lesion
Real World
Planning

Keywords

  • Planning
  • Right prefrontal cortex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

Cite this

Goel, V., Vartanian, O., Bartolo, A., Hakim, L., Maria Ferraro, A., Isella, V., ... Nichelli, P. (2013). Lesions to right prefrontal cortex impair real-world planning through prematurecommitments. Neuropsychologia, 51(4), 713-724. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2012.11.029

Lesions to right prefrontal cortex impair real-world planning through prematurecommitments. / Goel, Vinod; Vartanian, Oshin; Bartolo, Angela; Hakim, Lila; Maria Ferraro, Anna; Isella, Valeria; Appollonio, Ildebrando; Drei, Silvia; Nichelli, Paolo.

In: Neuropsychologia, Vol. 51, No. 4, 03.2013, p. 713-724.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Goel, V, Vartanian, O, Bartolo, A, Hakim, L, Maria Ferraro, A, Isella, V, Appollonio, I, Drei, S & Nichelli, P 2013, 'Lesions to right prefrontal cortex impair real-world planning through prematurecommitments', Neuropsychologia, vol. 51, no. 4, pp. 713-724. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2012.11.029
Goel, Vinod ; Vartanian, Oshin ; Bartolo, Angela ; Hakim, Lila ; Maria Ferraro, Anna ; Isella, Valeria ; Appollonio, Ildebrando ; Drei, Silvia ; Nichelli, Paolo. / Lesions to right prefrontal cortex impair real-world planning through prematurecommitments. In: Neuropsychologia. 2013 ; Vol. 51, No. 4. pp. 713-724.
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