Changes in connectivity profiles as a mechanism for strategic control over interfering subliminal information

Thomas Wolbers*, Eszter D. Schoell, Rolf Verleger, Stefanie Kraft, Adam McNamara, Piotr Jaśkowski, Christian Büchel

*Corresponding author for this work
    36 Citations (Scopus)


    Human behavior can be influenced by information that is not consciously perceived. Recent behavioral and electrophysiological evidence suggests, however, that the processing of subliminal stimuli is not completely beyond an observer's conscious control. The present study aimed to characterize the cortical network that implements strategic control over interfering subliminal information at multiple stages. Fourteen participants underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scanning while performing a metacontrast masking paradigm. We systematically varied the amount of conflicting versus non-conflicting trials across experimental blocks, and behavioral performance demonstrated strategic effects whenever a high proportion of subliminal prime stimuli induced response competition. A psychophysiological interaction analysis revealed the pre-supplementary motor area (pre-SMA) to exhibit context-dependent covariation with activation in the lateral occipital complex (LOC) and the putamen. The pre-SMA thereby appears to fulfill a superordinate function in the control of processing subliminal information by simultaneously modulating perceptual analysis and motor selection.

    Original languageEnglish
    JournalCerebral Cortex
    Issue number6
    Pages (from-to)857-864
    Number of pages8
    Publication statusPublished - 01.06.2006

    Research Areas and Centers

    • Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)


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