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Neuroimage. 2006 Aug 15;32(2):921-9. Epub 2006 May 3.

Comparison of two Simon tasks: neuronal correlates of conflict resolution based on coherent motion perception.

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Department of Neuropsychology and Behavioral Neurobiology, Institute for Cognitive Neuroscience, University of Bremen, Grazer Strasse 6, D-28359 Bremen, Germany.


The present study aimed at characterizing the neural correlates of conflict resolution in two variations of the Simon effect. We introduced two different Simon tasks where subjects had to identify shapes on the basis of form-from-motion perception (FFMo) within a randomly moving dot field, while (1) motion direction (motion-based Simon task) or (2) stimulus location (location-based Simon task) had to be ignored. Behavioral data revealed that both types of Simon tasks induced highly significant interference effects. Using event-related fMRI, we could demonstrate that both tasks share a common cluster of activated brain regions during conflict resolution (pre-supplementary motor area (pre-SMA), superior parietal lobule (SPL), and cuneus) but also show task-specific activation patterns (left superior temporal cortex in the motion-based, and the left fusiform gyrus in the location-based Simon task). Although motion-based and location-based Simon tasks are conceptually very similar (Type 3 stimulus-response ensembles according to the taxonomy of [Kornblum, S., Stevens, G. (2002). Sequential effects of dimensional overlap: findings and issues. In: Prinz, W., Hommel., B. (Eds.), Common mechanism in perception and action. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp. 9-54]) conflict resolution in both tasks results in the activation of different task-specific regions probably related to the different sources of task-irrelevant information. Furthermore, the present data give evidence those task-specific regions are most likely to detect the relationship between task-relevant and task-irrelevant information.

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