Anterior Cingulate Gyrus and Goal Directed Behavior

The anterior cingulate gyrus seems to decide which behavior is appropriate and what we should be paying attention to by monitoring conflict, pain, problems, errors, etc.

Neural pathways have been identified for reintepretation of frontal lobe lesions with visceral & endocrine involvement in the hippocampus, amygdala, caudate nucleus. parietal lobe and temporal regions of the cortex. When there is not permanent impairment in the frontal lobe, scientists have found fronto-hypothalamic connections of feedback association with multimodal processing areas of the parietal lobe in and near the frontal eye field. This can be seen in spatial delayed alternation tests. Also seen is the capacity to integrate auditory, visual, & kinesthetic information impaired by lesions in the general area of the frontal eye field.

Anterior cingulate has a role in premotor function and some cognitively demanding processes which are associated with affect. The anterior cingulate cortex is involved in skeletal & visceromotor systems & response selection. It is also part of the limbic system that are engaged in initiating behaviors related to motivational significance of sensory stimuli, & cognitively demanding processing not requiring movement and retrieving short term memory.

The cingulate provides a mechanism by which affect and intellect can be joined. A select group of forebrain structures including anterior cingulate cortex are involved in affect and regulating context relevant motor behaviors.

A PET study showed transient sadness or happiness are associated with elevated blood flow in the anterior cingulate gyrus.