This volume, Prefrontal Cortex: from Synaptic Plasticity to Cognition, is an interdisciplinary approach to characterize the function of the anterior portion of the frontal lobe in rodents and human and non-human primates. The specific topics discussed in the chapters of this volume are purposefully diverse: they range from membrane properties of prefrontal neurons to cognitive psychology. Nevertheless, this volume must not be regarded as a mere collection of writings with the different sub-themes. As you will see, chapters often vigorously encompass domains of the prefrontal field in effort to provide a big picture. That is actually what we attempted to do in this volume. On one hand, we have accumulated knowledge on the properties of neurons and synapses in the prefrontal cortex as well as the actions of critical neuromodulators such as dopamine. On the other hand, behavioral and cognitive neurosciences have begun to reveal the fascinating role of the prefrontal cortex in such mental processes as working memory, attention switching and rule following, and long-term memory. Needless to say, our ultimate goal as neurobiologists is to know what relationship there is between these cellular and cognitive processes. This volume is meant to serve as a comprehensive introduction towards that goal. Readers will be informed, for example, of how plasticity of prefrontal neurons is regulated, how it is involved in certain cognitive processes in rodents, and how the rodent models can apply to the primates.
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