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Brain Res. 2009 Mar 31;1263:87-92. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2009.01.039. Epub 2009 Feb 3.

Early implicit contextual change detection in anterior prefrontal cortex.

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Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Magdeburg, Germany.


The anterior prefrontal cortex is usually associated with high-level executive functions. In contrast, we show anterior prefrontal involvement in implicit change detection processes. A variant of the contextual cueing paradigm was used, in which repeated distractor configurations are implicitly learned and facilitate target search. After only six repetitions, the target location was changed in displays with repeated distractor configurations. We observed selective post-change signal increases in the anterior prefrontal cortex in repeated, but not novel displays. The data support the view that the anterior prefrontal cortex is involved in implicit change detection. This change detection is not dependent on extensive prior learning. Thus, anterior prefrontal involvement in complex cognitive tasks may be due to more basic processes than previously thought.

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