The prefrontal cortex of the brain is the part of the brain located in the front and center, just behind the forehead. Responsible for processing incoming information from multiple inputs, the prefrontal cortex is associated with executive function, reasoning, personality, and emotions, and plays a role in attention and memory.
The prefrontal cortex is comprised of two parts: the lateral prefrontal cortex (comprised of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and ventrolateral prefrontal cortex) and the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (also known as the orbitofrontal PFC).
Prefrontal Cortex Damage
The prefrontal cortex plays a role in your ability to plan and strategize. And the prefrontal cortex is also thought to play a role in regulating mood, since it is connected to areas that release mood-related neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine.
Scientists have discovered that the prefrontal cortex functions in these ways based on observations made of humans and primates with damage to or lesions on the prefrontal cortex. Researchers have noted significant personality changes, blunted emotions, and difficulty following through with plans in patients with prefrontal cortex damage.
Prefrontal Cortex ADHD
Dysfunction of neurotransmitters and receptors in the prefrontal cortex are often noted in patients with neuropsychiatric disorders like:
- Bipolar disorder
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
Since the prefrontal cortex is intimately associated with regulating attention, executive function, and impulse inhibition, it is believed this part of the brain could play a role in ADHD.