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Cereb Cortex. 2012 Aug;22(8):1887-93. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhr270. Epub 2011 Sep 21.

Performance Dip in motor response induced by task-irrelevant weaker coherent visual motion signals.

Author information

  • 1Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, Department of Radiology, Massachusetts General Hospital, 149 13th Street, Charlestown, MA 02129, USA.

Abstract

The Performance Dip is a newly characterized behavioral phenomenon, where, paradoxically, a weaker task-irrelevant visual stimulus causes larger disturbances on the accuracy of a main letter identification task than a stronger stimulus does. Understanding mechanisms of the Performance Dip may provide insight into unconsciousness behavior. Here, we investigated the generalization of the Performance Dip. Specifically, we tested whether the Performance Dip occurs in a motion-related Simon task, and if so, whether the Performance Dip involves the same brain region, that is, the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), previously implicated in the Performance Dip, or the supplementary motor area (SMA) and pre-SMA, implicated in a motion-related Simon Task. Subjects made manual directional responses according to the color of stochastic moving dots while ignoring the global direction of moving dots, which could be either congruent or incongruent to the response appropriate to the main task. We found that weak incongruent task-irrelevant stimuli caused a Performance Dip, in which the SMA and pre-SMA, rather than DLPFC, played critical roles. Our results suggest a possible common brain mechanism across different neural circuits, in which weak, but not strong, task-irrelevant information is free from inhibition and intrudes into neural circuits relevant to the main task.

PMID:
21940704
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3388893
Free PMC Article
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