Frontal Lobe

The frontal lobe is an area in the brain of humans and other mammals, located at the front of each cerebral hemisphere, directly behind the forehead or ‘temple.’ The frontal lobe contains most of the dopamine-sensitive neurons in the cerebral cortex. The dopamine system is associated with reward, attention, long-term memory, planning, and drive.

In the early 20th century, a medical treatment for mental illness, first developed by Portuguese neurologist Egas Moniz, involved damaging the pathways connecting the frontal lobe to the limbic system. Frontal lobotomy successfully reduced distress but at the cost of often blunting the subject’s emotions, volition and personality. The indiscriminate use of this psychosurgical procedure, combined with its severe side effects and dangerous nature, gained it a bad reputation. The frontal lobotomy has largely died out as a psychiatric treatment.

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