Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

U-turns in the brain

When making decisions, new information sometimes calls for a change of mind. New results indicate that regions of the prefrontal cortex play distinct roles in evaluating new evidence in light of a previous choice and translating the result of this evaluation process into an explicit report of one’s subjective confidence.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Access options

Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.

Fig. 1: Neural mediators of changes of mind.


  1. Fleming, S. M., van der Putten, E. J. & Daw, N. D. Nat. Neurosci. (2018).

  2. Nelson, T. O. & Narens, L. Metamemory: a theoretical framework and new findings. in The Psychology of Learning and Motivation: Advances in Research and Theory (ed. Bower, G.H.) 125–173 (Academic, New York, 1990).

  3. Ridderinkhof, K. R., Ullsperger, M., Crone, E. A. & Nieuwenhuis, S. Science 306, 443–447 (2004).

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  4. Fleming, S. M. & Dolan, R. J. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. B 367, 1338–1349 (2012).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Yeung, N. & Summerfield, C. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. B 367, 1310–1321 (2012).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Rounis, E., Maniscalco, B., Rothwell, J. C., Passingham, R. E. & Lau, H. Cogn. Neurosci. 1, 165–175 (2010).

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  7. Pannu, J. K. & Kaszniak, A. W. Neuropsychol. Rev. 15, 105–130 (2005).

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  8. Fleming, S. M. et al. Psychol. Sci. 26, 89–98 (2015).

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  9. Shadlen, M. N. & Kiani, R. Neuron 80, 791–806 (2013).

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  10. Fleming, S. M., Huijgen, J. & Dolan, R. J. J. Neurosci. 32, 6117–6125 (2012).

    Article  CAS  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  11. Pleskac, T. J. & Busemeyer, J. R. Psychol. Rev. 117, 864–901 (2010).

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  12. van den Berg, R. et al. eLife 5, e12192 (2016).

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  13. Cavanagh, J. F. & Frank, M. J. Trends Cogn. Sci. 18, 414–421 (2014).

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  14. Cohen, M. X. & Donner, T. H. J. Neurophysiol. 110, 2752–2763 (2013).

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  15. Murphy, P. R., Robertson, I. H., Harty, S. & O’Connell, R. G. eLife (2015).

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Redmond G. O’Connell.

Ethics declarations

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing interests.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

O’Connell, R.G., Murphy, P.R. U-turns in the brain. Nat Neurosci 21, 461–462 (2018).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

This article is cited by


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing