Repository logo

Competitive Frontoparietal Interactions Mediate Implicit Inferences.

Published version



Change log


Ro, Tony 


Frequent experience with regularities in our environment allows us to use predictive information to guide our decision process. However, contingencies in our environment are not always explicitly present and sometimes need to be inferred. Heretofore, it remained unknown how predictive information guides decision-making when explicit knowledge is absent and how the brain shapes such implicit inferences. In the present experiment, 17 human participants (9 females) performed a discrimination task in which a target stimulus was preceded by a predictive cue. Critically, participants had no explicit knowledge that some of the cues signaled an upcoming target, allowing us to investigate how implicit inferences emerge and guide decision-making. Despite unawareness of the cue-target contingencies, participants were able to use implicit information to improve performance. Concurrent EEG recordings demonstrate that implicit inferences rely upon interactions between internally and externally oriented networks, whereby prefrontal regions inhibit parietal cortex under internal implicit control.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT Regularities in our environment can guide our behavior providing information about upcoming events. Interestingly, such predictive information does not need to be explicitly represented to effectively guide our decision process. Here, we show how the brain engages in such real-world "data mining" and how implicit inferences emerge. We used a contingency cueing task and demonstrated that implicit inferences influenced responses to subsequent targets despite a lack of awareness of cue-target contingencies. Further, we show that these implicit inferences emerge through interactions between internally and externally oriented neural networks. The current results highlight the importance of prefrontal processes in transforming external events into predictive internalized models of the world.



EEG, consciousness, decision-making, inferences, neural networks dynamics, prefrontal cortex, Adult, Brain, Cues, Decision Making, Discrimination Learning, Electroencephalography, Female, Humans, Male, Nerve Net, Reaction Time, Young Adult

Journal Title

J Neurosci

Conference Name

Journal ISSN


Volume Title



Society for Neuroscience
European Commission Horizon 2020 (H2020) Marie Sk?odowska-Curie actions (704361)