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The anterior frontomedian cortex and evaluative judgment: an fMRI study.

Zysset S, Huber O, Ferstl E, von Cramon DY


This study investigated the neuronal basis of evaluative judgment. Judgments can be defined as the assessment of an external or internal stimulus on an internal scale and they are fundamental for decision-making and other cognitive processes. Evaluative judgments (I like George W. Bush: yes/no) are a special type of judgment, in which the internal scale is related to the person's value system (preferences, norms, aesthetic values, etc.). We used functional magnetic resonance imaging to examine brain activation during the performance of evaluative judgments as opposed to episodic and semantic memory retrieval. Evaluative judgment produced significant activation in the anterior frontomedian cortex (BA 10/9), the inferior precuneus (BA 23/31), and the left inferior prefrontal cortex (BA 45/47). The results show a functional dissociation between the activations in the anterior frontomedian cortex and in the inferior precuneus. The latter was mainly activated by episodic retrieval processes, supporting its function as a multimodal association area that integrates the different aspects of retrieved and newly presented information. In contrast, the anterior frontomedian cortex was mainly involved in evaluative judgments, supporting its role in self-referential processes and in the self-initiation of cognitive processes.

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