Is left inferior frontal gyrus a general mechanism for selection?

John X. Zhang, Ching Mei Feng, Peter T. Fox, Jia Hong Gao, Li Hai Tan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

91 Scopus citations


Converging lines of research in neuroimaging recognize selection as one of the critical functions of prefrontal cortex (e.g., see Annu. Rev. Neurosci. 24, 2001 167). We examined a central thesis of a selection hypothesis (Neuropsychologia 41, 2003 280) that the left inferior frontal gyrus (LIFG) serves as a general mechanism for selecting among competing representations (Annu. Rev. Neurosci. 18, 1995 193). Participants were presented with two sets of letters to remember and then cued to select one set from the two as the target set for subsequent recognition. LIFG showed significantly more activation when the cue elicited a strong need for selection, relative to when it did not, suggesting that the involvement of this area in selection is generalizable beyond semantic retrieval tasks as originally found. This result provides supporting evidence for the selection hypothesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)596-603
Number of pages8
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 2004


  • Inhibition
  • Left inferior frontal gyrus
  • Response selection
  • Semantic retrieval
  • fMRI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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