What is my Prefrontal Cortex? Why Does it Matter?


Meghan Moody, Psy.D


            Prefrontal Cortex –The “Boss” of the brain (shown in red)


The prefrontal cortex takes in information from all of the senses and orchestrates thoughts and actions to achieve specific goals.” It is one of the last areas of the brain to develop or “finish growing up.” Scientists estimate that it is not fully developed until the age of 25.

The duties of the prefrontal cortex are called executive functions. In other words, think of this part of the brain as the manager or the boss of your brain – the part responsible for making the decisions.

Put your brain to work! Here’s what’s going on inside the boss of your brain:

  • Focusing your attention
  • Organizing your thoughts
  • Problem solving
  • Thinking through
  • Weighing the possible consequences of your behavior
  • Considering the future and making predictions
  • Forming strategies and planning
  • Balancing short-term rewards with long term goals
  • Shifting/adjusting behavior when situations change
  • Impulse control and delaying gratification
  • Regulation/control of intense emotions
  • Inhibiting (holding back) inappropriate behavior
  • Initiating (starting) appropriate behavior
  • Considering multiple streams of information at the same time
  • Regulation/control of “correct” behavior in social situations

Information adapted from: http://www.hhs.gov/opa/familylife/tech_assistance/etraining/adolescent_brain/Development/prefrontal_cortex/