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Mission

The speed of technology in neuroscience as it impacts ethical and just decisions in the legal system needs to be understood by lawyers, judges, public policy makers, and the general public. The Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Law, Brain, and Behavior is an academic and professional resource for the education, research, and understanding of neuroscience and the law. Read more

The Functional Neuroanatomy of Decision-Making

Decision-making is a complex executive function that draws on past experience, present goals, and anticipation of outcome, and which is influenced by prevailing and predicted emotional tone and cultural context. Functional imaging investigations and focal lesion studies identify the orbitofrontal, anterior cingulate, and dorsolateral prefrontal cortices as critical to decision-making. The authors review the connections of these prefrontal regions with the neocortex, limbic system, basal ganglia, and cerebellum, highlight current ideas regarding the cognitive processes of decision-making that these networks subserve, and present a novel integrated neuroanatomical model for decision-making. Finally, clinical relevance of this circuitry is illustrated through a discussion of frontotemporal dementia, traumatic brain injury, and sociopathy.

Source: The Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences 2012; 24:266–277. Authors: Michael H. Rosenbloom, M.D.; Jeremy D. Schmahmann, M.D.; Bruce H. Price, M.D. [Read the article]