Show Reference: "Conflict monitoring versus selection-for-action in anterior cingulate cortex"

Conflict monitoring versus selection-for-action in anterior cingulate cortex Nature, Vol. 402, No. 6758. (11 November 1999), pp. 179-181, doi:10.1038/46035 by Matthew Botvinick, Leigh E. Nystrom, Kate Fissell, Cameron S. Carter, Jonathan D. Cohen
    abstract = {The anterior cingulate cortex ({ACC}), on the medial surface of the frontal lobes of the brain, is widely believed to be involved in the regulation of attention1, 2. Beyond this, however, its specific contribution to cognition remains uncertain. One influential theory has interpreted activation within the {ACC} as reflecting 'selection-for-action'3, 4, 5, a set of processes that guide the selection of environmental objects as triggers of or targets for action. We have proposed an alternative hypothesis, in which the {ACC} serves not to exert top-down attentional control but instead to detect and signal the occurrence of conflicts in information processing6, 7, 8. Here, to test this theory against the selection-for-action theory, we used functional magnetic resonance imaging to measure brain activation during performance of a task where, for a particular subset of trials, the strength of selection-for-action is inversely related to the degree of response conflict. Activity within the {ACC} was greater during trials featuring high levels of conflict (and weak selection-for-action) than during trials with low levels of conflict (and strong selection-for-action), providing evidence in favour of the conflict-monitoring account of {ACC} function.},
    address = {Department of Psychology, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15213, USA.},
    author = {Botvinick, Matthew and Nystrom, Leigh E. and Fissell, Kate and Carter, Cameron S. and Cohen, Jonathan D.},
    citeulike-article-id = {1424305},
    citeulike-linkout-0 = {},
    citeulike-linkout-1 = {},
    citeulike-linkout-2 = {},
    citeulike-linkout-3 = {},
    day = {11},
    doi = {10.1038/46035},
    issn = {0028-0836},
    journal = {Nature},
    keywords = {attention, conflict, control, cortex, psychology},
    month = nov,
    number = {6758},
    pages = {179--181},
    pmid = {10647008},
    posted-at = {2015-02-03 14:12:56},
    priority = {2},
    publisher = {Nature Publishing Group},
    title = {Conflict monitoring versus selection-for-action in anterior cingulate cortex},
    url = {},
    volume = {402},
    year = {1999}

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Botvinick et al. advance two interdependent hypotheses:

  1. Conflicts in information processing activate certain cortical areas, most notably the anterior cingulate cortex,
  2. Conflict-related activity causes adjustments in cognitive control of information processing to resolve conflict.

The anterior cingulate cortex is likely involved with regulating attention.