The capacity for goal-directed behavior requires not only the encoding of the response-outcome relationship but also the ability to resolve conflict induced by competing responses. Recent neuroimaging studies have identified the prefrontal cortex as critical for resolving conflict between competing responses. At present, however,muchof this evidence is indirect, and the necessity of dorsomedial prefrontal cortex (dmPFC) function for the resolution of conflict in goal-directed behavior has not been assessed. Here, we develop a rodent paradigm to investigate response conflict caused by the concurrent activation of a correct and incorrect response. In this paradigm, the outcome of one response also acts as a discriminative stimulus signaling that the other response is correct. Whereas rats with a functional dmPFC are able to resolve this conflict, inactivation of dmPFC using an infusion of muscimol produced a deficit by selectively interfering with their ability to inhibit the incorrect, competing response.
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