Medial prefrontal cortex activity when thinking about others depends on their age

Natalie C. Ebner, Sebastian Gluth, Matthew R. Johnson, Carol L. Raye, Karen J. Mitchell, Marcia K. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


This functional magnetic resonance imaging study examined medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) activity as young and older participants rated an unknown young and older person, and themselves, on personality characteristics. For both young and older participants, there was greater activation in ventral mPFC (anterior cingulate) when they made judgments about own-age than other-age individuals. Additionally, across target age and participant age, there was greater activity in a more anterior region of ventral mPFC (largely medial frontal gyrus, anterior cingulate) when participants rated others than when they rated themselves. We discuss potential interpretations of these findings in the context of previous results suggesting functional specificity of subregions of ventral mPFC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)260-269
Number of pages10
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Ambiguity
  • Medial prefrontal cortex
  • Own-age effects
  • Self-referential processing
  • Similarity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Neurology


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