Unconscious relational inference recruits the hippocampus

Reber, Thomas P.; Luechinger, Roger; Boesiger, Peter; Henke, Katharina (2012). Unconscious relational inference recruits the hippocampus. Journal of neuroscience, 32(18), pp. 6138-6148. Society for Neuroscience 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.5639-11.2012

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Relational inference denotes the capacity to encode, flexibly retrieve, and integrate multiple memories to combine past experiences to update knowledge and improve decision-making in new situations. Although relational inference is thought to depend on the hippocampus and consciousness, we now show in young, healthy men that it may occur outside consciousness but still recruits the hippocampus. In temporally distinct and unique subliminal episodes, we presented word pairs that either overlapped (“winter–red”, “red–computer”) or not. Effects of unconscious relational inference emerged in reaction times recorded during unconscious encoding and in the outcome of decisions made 1 min later at test, when participants judged the semantic relatedness of two supraliminal words. These words were either episodically related through a common word (“winter–computer” related through “red”) or unrelated. Hippocampal activity increased during the unconscious encoding of overlapping versus nonoverlapping word pairs and during the unconscious retrieval of episodically related versus unrelated words. Furthermore, hippocampal activity during unconscious encoding predicted the outcome of decisions made at test. Hence, unconscious inference may influence decision-making in new situations.

Item Type: Journal Article (Original Article)
Division/Institute: 07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Psychology > Experimental Psychology and Neuropsychology
10 Strategic Research Centers > Center for Cognition, Learning and Memory (CCLM)
UniBE Contributor: Reber, Thomas and Henke, Katharina
Subjects: 100 Philosophy > 150 Psychology
600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health
ISSN: 0270-6474
Publisher: Society for Neuroscience
Language: English
Submitter: Brigitte Bättig
Date Deposited: 02 May 2014 09:12
Last Modified: 27 Jul 2015 11:29
Publisher DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.5639-11.2012
BORIS DOI: 10.7892/boris.48526
URI: http://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/48526

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