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Cognitive neuroscience research relies, in part, on homologies between the brains of human and non-human primates. A quandary therefore arises when presumed anatomical homologues exhibit different functional properties. Such a situation has recently arisen in the case of the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC). In humans, numerous studies suggest a role for ACC in detecting conflicts in information processing. Studies of macaque monkey ACC, in contrast, have failed to find conflict-related responses. We consider several interpretations of this discrepancy, including differences in research methodology and cross-species differences in functional neuroanatomy. New directions for future research are outlined, emphasizing the importance of distinguishing illusory cross-species differences from the true evolutionary differences that make our species unique.

Original publication




Journal article


Trends Neurosci

Publication Date





566 - 574


Animals, Conflict (Psychology), Decision Making, Gyrus Cinguli, Humans, Macaca, Mental Processes, Neural Pathways, Problem Solving