A Computational Model of Prefrontal Cortex Function

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 7 (NIPS 1994)

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Todd Braver, Jonathan D. Cohen, David Servan-Schreiber


Accumulating data from neurophysiology and neuropsychology have suggested two information processing roles for prefrontal cor(cid:173) tex (PFC): 1) short-term active memory; and 2) inhibition. We present a new behavioral task and a computational model which were developed in parallel. The task was developed to probe both of these prefrontal functions simultaneously, and produces a rich set of behavioral data that act as constraints on the model. The model is implemented in continuous-time, thus providing a natural framework in which to study the temporal dynamics of processing in the task. We show how the model can be used to examine the be(cid:173) havioral consequences of neuromodulation in PFC . Specifically, we use the model to make novel and testable predictions regarding the behavioral performance of schizophrenics, who are hypothesized to suffer from reduced dopaminergic tone in this brain area.