akinetic mutism The inability to initiate movement following surgical removal of or infarcts to the anterior cingulate cortex.

allele Refers to a sequence variant of a particular gene. Each person carries a genome sequence that is approximately 0.1% different from any other human (excluding identical twins and family members). These differences in the sequence of a gene give rise to multiple alleles of a gene in a population and can lead to variations in observable traits. The sequencing of the human genome shows the most common sequence differences (available at

automatic processing A term used to describe cognitive processes that can be done rapidly, in parallel, and that require no attentional resources.

cingulate epilepsy syndrome Seizures confirmed in the anterior cingulate cortex that result in excessive activity of this region, impair consciousness, and alter affective state and expression. Patients with such seizures may display psychopathic or sociopathic behaviors.

cognitive conflict Interference due to competing stimuli, memories, decisions, tasks, thoughts, or actions.

cognitive control The ability to resolve conflict among competing or interfering thoughts and actions.

error-related negativity (ERN) A negative deflection in the event-related potential following incorrect responses during choice reaction time tasks observed during scalp electrophysiological recordings.

gene A portion of the human genome that contains the instructions and code for the production of a protein. The publication of the sequence of the human genome reveals approximately 35,000 genes (available at

gene association study The statistical methods used to determine whether variation in the sequence of a particular gene correlates with variation in an observable trait.

heritability (h2) A term that describes the extent to which variation in a trait (e.g., cognitive performance) among members of a population is determined by inherited genetic variation. h2 can vary between 1 (high)and 0 (low). h2 can be estimated in a number of ways but most conveniently by comparing the correlation in performance of identical (monozygotic or MZ) vs fraternal (dizygotic or DZ) twins. Higher correlation among MZ twins suggests that genetic factors contribute significantly to the variation among individuals for that trait.

The anterior cingulate cortex is a region of the brain thought in to be involved in actions guided by sensation, cognition, and emotion. This article provides evidence for anterior cingulate cortex function from both human and animal studies using neuroimaging, elec-trophysiology, lesion, and genetic methodologies.

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