Gilbert, S.; Zamenopoulos, T.; Alexiou, K. and Johnson, J.
Involvement of right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex in ill-structured design cognition: An fMRI study.
Brain Research, 1312(C),
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In ill-structured tasks, the problem to be solved is poorly specified and there is no unique correct solution. Most evidence on brain mechanisms involved in dealing with such tasks comes from neuropsychology. Here, we developed an ill-structured design task suitable for testing in a functional neuroimaging environment and compared it with a matched well-structured problem-solving task using fMRI. Consistent with prior neuropsychological results, the design task was associated with greater activity in right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex compared with problem solving. This differential activity was specific to the problem studying phase rather than performance. Furthermore, the design and problem-solving tasks differed not only in overall levels of brain activity but also in patterns of functional interactions between brain regions. These results provide new evidence on the role of right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex in ill-structured situations, such as those involved in design cognition. Additionally, these results confirm the suitability of functional neuroimaging for studying such situations.
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