top of page

Prefrontal Control of Actions and Habits

Karly Turner

Habits: Their Definition, Neurobiology, and Role in Addiction (pp. 169-189): Springer International Publishing

April 2024


Habits help to reduce cognitive load and free up resources required for dynamic goal-directed decisions. The prefrontal cortex has been largely implicated in the latter, but cortical manipulations have also helped to unravel important features about how habits and goal-directed systems co-exist. This chapter will focus on the role of the prefrontal cortex in the control of instrumental actions in rodents. First, we will outline how habits and goal-directed actions are defined and operationalized. Then the role of key subregions within the cortex will be discussed, including the prelimbic cortex (PL), infralimbic cortex (IL), anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), insular cortex (IC) and orbitofrontal cortex (OFC). The purpose of this chapter is to highlight the role of these regions in habits; however, given the interrelatedness of habits with goal-directed actions, a discussion of function across these behaviours is necessary. Overall, this chapter will provide insight into the different roles cortical regions play in the acquisition and performance of instrumental responses.

bottom of page