The frontoparietal control system: A central role in mental health

Michael W. Cole, Grega Repovš, Alan Anticevic

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

221 Scopus citations


Recent findings suggest the existence of a frontoparietal control system consisting of flexible hubs that regulate distributed systems (e.g., visual, limbic, motor) according to current task goals. A growing number of studies are reporting alterations of this control system across a striking range of mental diseases. We suggest this may reflect a critical role for the control system in promoting and maintaining mental health. Specifically, we propose that this system implements feedback control to regulate symptoms as they arise (e.g., excessive anxiety reduced via regulation of amygdala), such that an intact control system is protective against a variety of mental illnesses. Consistent with this possibility, recent results indicate that several major mental illnesses involve altered brain-wide connectivity of the control system, likely altering its ability to regulate symptoms. These results suggest that this "immune system of the mind" may be an especially important target for future basic and clinical research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)652-664
Number of pages13
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 20 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Clinical Neurology


  • brain networks
  • cognitive control
  • executive functions
  • prefrontal cortex
  • psychiatric disease


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