Cognitive functioning after medial frontal lobe damage including the anterior cingulate cortex

A preliminary investigation

Amee Baird, Bonnie Kate Dewar, Hugo Critchley, Sam J. Gilbert, Raymond J. Dolan, Lisa Cipolotti*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

35 Citations (Scopus)


Two patients with medial frontal lobe damage involving the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) performed a range of cognitive tasks, including tests of executive function and anterior attention. Both patients lesions extended beyond the ACC, therefore caution needs to be exerted in ascribing observed deficits to the ACC alone. Patient performance was compared with age and education matched healthy controls. Both patients showed intact intellectual, memory, and language abilities. No clear-cut abnormalities were noted in visuoperceptual functions. Speed of information processing was mildly reduced only in Patient 2 (bilateral ACC lesion). The patients demonstrated weak or impaired performance only on selective executive function tests. Performance on anterior attention tasks was satisfactory. We tentatively suggest that our findings are inconsistent with anterior attention theories of ACC function based on neuroimaging findings. We propose that the data may imply that the ACC does not have a central role in cognition. We speculate that our findings may be compatible with the view that the ACC integrates cognitive processing with autonomic functioning to guide behaviour.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)166-175
Number of pages10
JournalBrain and Cognition
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Anterior cingulate cortex
  • Cognition

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