Action Initiation in the Human Dorsal Anterior Cingulate Cortex

Srinivasan, Lakshminarayan; Asaad, Wael F.; Ginat, Daniel T.; Gale, John T.; Dougherty, Darin D.; Williams, Ziv M.; Sejnowski, Terrence J.; Eskandar, Emad N.
February 2013
PLoS ONE;Feb2013, Vol. 8 Issue 2, p1
Academic Journal
The dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC) has previously been implicated in processes that influence action initiation. In humans however, there has been little direct evidence connecting dACC to the temporal onset of actions. We studied reactive behavior in patients undergoing therapeutic bilateral cingulotomy to determine the immediate effects of dACC ablation on action initiation. In a simple reaction task, three patients were instructed to respond to a specific visual cue with the movement of a joystick. Within minutes of dACC ablation, the frequency of false starts increased, where movements occurred prior to presentation of the visual cue. In a decision making task with three separate patients, the ablation effect on action initiation persisted even when action selection was intact. These findings suggest that human dACC influences action initiation, apart from its role in action selection.


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