Josef M. Unterrainer

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In clinical and experimental settings, planning ability is typically assessed using the Tower of London (ToL) or one of its variants. For enhancing the comparability across studies, a common ToL problem set was recently suggested comprising a collection of 4- to 7-move problems. Based on previous theoretical and empirical analyses of problem space and task(More)
It is well established that the mid-dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (dlPFC) plays a critical role in planning. Neuroimaging studies have yielded predominantly bilateral dlPFC activations, but the existence and nature of functionally specific contributions of left and right dlPFC have remained elusive. In recent experiments, 2 independent parameters have been(More)
This article provides an overview of recent research on human planning and problem solving. As an introduction, these two cognitive domains will be described and discussed from the perspective of experimental and cognitive psychology. The following sections will focus on the role of the prefrontal cortex in planning and problem solving and on disorders of(More)
Cognitive, clinical, and neuroimaging studies on planning abilities most frequently implement the Tower of London task or one of its variants. Yet, cumulating evidence from a series of experiments suggests that the commonly used approximation of problem difficulty in terms of the minimum number of moves for goal attainment is too coarse a measure for the(More)
Most neuroimaging studies on planning report bilateral activations of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (dlPFC). Recently, these concurrent activations of left and right dlPFC have been shown to double dissociate with different cognitive demands imposed by the planning task: Higher demands on the extraction of task-relevant information led to stronger(More)
Despite the large number of behavioral and functional neuroimaging studies employing the Tower of London (ToL), the task's structural parameters and particularly their impact on planning have not been addressed so far. In this paper, we highlight the structural properties of ToL problems and provide evidence for their systematic and substantial effects on(More)
Identifying overtly observable indicators of cognitive processes should provide a promising basis for a more precise tracking of the associated cognitive and neural events. In the current study we used recordings of eye movements to gain deeper insight into the time course of visuospatial problem solving as measured by the Tower of London. Single-trial,(More)
The ability to plan and search ahead is essential for problem solving in most situations in everyday life. To investigate the development of planning and related processes, a sample of four- and five-year-old children was examined in a variant of the Tower of London, a frequently used neuropsychological assessment tool of planning abilities. The applied(More)
The role of verbal and visuospatial information processing in Tower of London (TOL) tasks was investigated. The first part of the investigation examined the verbal and visuospatial abilities and preferred cognitive style (visualizer vs. verbalizer) of 79 participants, in an inter-individual differences approach. Visuospatial abilities significantly(More)
In a companion study, eye-movement analyses in the Tower of London task (TOL) revealed independent indicators of functionally separable cognitive processes during problem solving, with processes of building up an internal representation of the problem preceding actual planning processes. These results imply that processes of internalization and planning(More)