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      The role of prefrontal cortex in cognitive control and executive function


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          Concepts of cognitive control (CC) and executive function (EF) are defined in terms of their relationships with goal-directed behavior versus habits and controlled versus automatic processing, and related to the functions of the prefrontal cortex (PFC) and related regions and networks. A psychometric approach shows unity and diversity in CC constructs, with 3 components in the most commonly studied constructs: general or common CC and components specific to mental set shifting and working memory updating. These constructs are considered against the cellular and systems neurobiology of PFC and what is known of its functional neuroanatomical or network organization based on lesioning, neurochemical, and neuroimaging approaches across species. CC is also considered in the context of motivation, as “cool” and “hot” forms. Its Common CC component is shown to be distinct from general intelligence ( g) and closely related to response inhibition. Impairments in CC are considered as possible causes of psychiatric symptoms and consequences of disorders. The relationships of CC with the general factor of psychopathology (p) and dimensional constructs such as impulsivity in large scale developmental and adult populations are considered, as well as implications for genetic studies and RDoC approaches to psychiatric classification.

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          Executive Functions

          Executive functions (EFs) make possible mentally playing with ideas; taking the time to think before acting; meeting novel, unanticipated challenges; resisting temptations; and staying focused. Core EFs are inhibition [response inhibition (self-control—resisting temptations and resisting acting impulsively) and interference control (selective attention and cognitive inhibition)], working memory, and cognitive flexibility (including creatively thinking “outside the box,” seeing anything from different perspectives, and quickly and flexibly adapting to changed circumstances). The developmental progression and representative measures of each are discussed. Controversies are addressed (e.g., the relation between EFs and fluid intelligence, self-regulation, executive attention, and effortful control, and the relation between working memory and inhibition and attention). The importance of social, emotional, and physical health for cognitive health is discussed because stress, lack of sleep, loneliness, or lack of exercise each impair EFs. That EFs are trainable and can be improved with practice is addressed, including diverse methods tried thus far.
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            The unity and diversity of executive functions and their contributions to complex "Frontal Lobe" tasks: a latent variable analysis.

            This individual differences study examined the separability of three often postulated executive functions-mental set shifting ("Shifting"), information updating and monitoring ("Updating"), and inhibition of prepotent responses ("Inhibition")-and their roles in complex "frontal lobe" or "executive" tasks. One hundred thirty-seven college students performed a set of relatively simple experimental tasks that are considered to predominantly tap each target executive function as well as a set of frequently used executive tasks: the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (WCST), Tower of Hanoi (TOH), random number generation (RNG), operation span, and dual tasking. Confirmatory factor analysis indicated that the three target executive functions are moderately correlated with one another, but are clearly separable. Moreover, structural equation modeling suggested that the three functions contribute differentially to performance on complex executive tasks. Specifically, WCST performance was related most strongly to Shifting, TOH to Inhibition, RNG to Inhibition and Updating, and operation span to Updating. Dual task performance was not related to any of the three target functions. These results suggest that it is important to recognize both the unity and diversity of executive functions and that latent variable analysis is a useful approach to studying the organization and roles of executive functions. Copyright 2000 Academic Press.
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              The NHGRI-EBI GWAS Catalog of published genome-wide association studies, targeted arrays and summary statistics 2019

              Abstract The GWAS Catalog delivers a high-quality curated collection of all published genome-wide association studies enabling investigations to identify causal variants, understand disease mechanisms, and establish targets for novel therapies. The scope of the Catalog has also expanded to targeted and exome arrays with 1000 new associations added for these technologies. As of September 2018, the Catalog contains 5687 GWAS comprising 71673 variant-trait associations from 3567 publications. New content includes 284 full P-value summary statistics datasets for genome-wide and new targeted array studies, representing 6 × 109 individual variant-trait statistics. In the last 12 months, the Catalog's user interface was accessed by ∼90000 unique users who viewed >1 million pages. We have improved data access with the release of a new RESTful API to support high-throughput programmatic access, an improved web interface and a new summary statistics database. Summary statistics provision is supported by a new format proposed as a community standard for summary statistics data representation. This format was derived from our experience in standardizing heterogeneous submissions, mapping formats and in harmonizing content. Availability: https://www.ebi.ac.uk/gwas/.

                Author and article information

                Springer International Publishing (Cham )
                18 August 2021
                18 August 2021
                January 2022
                : 47
                : 1
                : 72-89
                [1 ]GRID grid.266190.a, ISNI 0000000096214564, Department of Psychology & Neuroscience and Institute for Behavioral Genetics, , University of Colorado Boulder, ; Boulder, CO USA
                [2 ]GRID grid.5335.0, ISNI 0000000121885934, Department of Psychology and Behavioural and Clinical Neuroscience Institute, , University of Cambridge, ; Cambridge, UK
                Author information
                © The Author(s) 2021

                Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

                : 11 February 2021
                : 20 July 2021
                : 22 July 2021
                Funded by: FundRef https://doi.org/10.13039/100000026, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services | NIH | National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA);
                Award ID: DA046413
                Award ID: DA042742
                Award ID: DA051018
                Award Recipient :
                Funded by: U.S. Department of Health & Human Services | NIH | National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
                Funded by: U.S. Department of Health & Human Services | NIH | National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
                Funded by: FundRef https://doi.org/10.13039/100000025, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services | NIH | National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH);
                Award ID: MH117131
                Award Recipient :
                Funded by: FundRef https://doi.org/10.13039/100000049, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services | NIH | National Institute on Aging (U.S. National Institute on Aging);
                Award ID: AG046938
                Award Recipient :
                Funded by: National Research Foundation (Singapore) CREATE Grant to the University of Cambridge and Nanyang Technological University for the Centre of Lifelong Learning and Individualised Cognition (CLIC).
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                © The Author(s), under exclusive licence to American College of Neuropsychopharmacology 2022

                Pharmacology & Pharmaceutical medicine
                cognitive control,human behaviour,psychiatric disorders


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