When planning results in loss of control: Intention-based reflexivity and working-memory

Nachshon Meiran, Michael W. Cole, Todd S. Braver

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


In this review, the authors discuss the seemingly paradoxical loss of control associated with states of high readiness to execute a plan, termed "intention-based reflexivity." The review suggests that the neuro-cognitive systems involved in the preparation of novel plans are different than those involved in preparation of practiced plans (i.e., those that have been executed beforehand). When the plans are practiced, intention-based reflexivity depends on the prior availability of response codes in long-term memory (LTM). When the plans are novel, reflexivity is observed when the plan is pending and the goal has not yet been achieved. Intention-based reflexivity also depends on the availability of working-memory (WM) limited resources and the motivation to prepare. Reflexivity is probably related to the fact that, unlike reactive control (once a plan is prepared), proactive control tends to be relatively rigid.

Original languageEnglish
JournalFrontiers in Human Neuroscience
Issue numberMAY 2012
StatePublished - 8 May 2012


  • Intention
  • Prefrontal cortex
  • Preparation
  • Proactive control
  • Reflexivity
  • Working-memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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