Task-relevance dependent gradients in medial prefrontal and temporoparietal cortices suggest solutions to paradoxes concerning self/other control

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Colleges, School and Institutes


Contrary to the prevailing view, Nicolle and colleagues (2012) recently demonstrated that dorsal and ventral regions of the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) and temporoparietal cortex (TPC) do not distinguish between action values relating to the self and to another individual; rather, these regions differentiate whether an action is currently relevant or irrelevant to the task at hand. This finding suggests solutions to paradoxes in social cognition. The first paradox concerns self/other control: With some experimental tasks TPC activity is associated with the promotion of self over other representations; in different tasks the association is with other over self (Santiesteban et al., 2012a). The second paradox concerns the control of imitation: MPFC has been associated with both the facilitation and inhibition of imitation. Considering task-relevance (i.e. whether the participant's task is to respond according to their own action values or to respond as if they were another individual) suggests possible solutions to these paradoxes.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)298-302
Number of pages5
JournalNeuroscience and biobehavioral reviews
Publication statusPublished - May 2014


  • Humans, Imitative Behavior, Models, Neurological, Neuropsychological Tests, Parietal Lobe, Prefrontal Cortex, Psychomotor Performance, Self Concept, Social Behavior, Temporal Lobe