The Open UniversitySkip to content

Involvement of right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex in ill-structured design cognition: An fMRI study

Gilbert, S.; Zamenopoulos, T.; Alexiou, K. and Johnson, J. (2010). Involvement of right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex in ill-structured design cognition: An fMRI study. Brain Research, 1312(C) pp. 79–88.

Full text available as:
PDF (Accepted Manuscript) - Requires a PDF viewer such as GSview, Xpdf or Adobe Acrobat Reader
Download (517Kb)
DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Link:
Google Scholar: Look up in Google Scholar


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.

Item Type: Journal Article
Copyright Holders: 2009 Elsevier B.V.
ISSN: 1872-6240
Keywords: design; fMRI; Ill-structured tasks; planning; prefrontal cortex; problem solving
Academic Unit/Department: Mathematics, Computing and Technology > Engineering & Innovation
Mathematics, Computing and Technology
Item ID: 19210
Depositing User: Katerina Alexiou
Date Deposited: 14 Dec 2009 10:08
Last Modified: 23 Feb 2016 21:01
Share this page:


Scopus Citations

Download history for this item

These details should be considered as only a guide to the number of downloads performed manually. Algorithmic methods have been applied in an attempt to remove automated downloads from the displayed statistics but no guarantee can be made as to the accuracy of the figures.

▼ Automated document suggestions from open access sources

Actions (login may be required)

Policies | Disclaimer

© The Open University   + 44 (0)870 333 4340