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Frequent experience with regularities in our environment allows us to use predictive information to guide our decision process. However, contingencies in our environment are not always explicitly present and sometimes need to be inferred. Heretofore, it remained unknown how predictive information guides decision-making when explicit knowledge is absent and how the brain shapes such implicit inferences. In the present experiment, 17 human participants (9 females) performed a discrimination task in which a target stimulus was preceded by a predictive cue. Critically, participants had no explicit knowledge that some of the cues signaled an upcoming target, allowing us to investigate how implicit inferences emerge and guide decision-making. Despite unawareness of the cue–target contingencies, participants were able to use implicit information to improve performance. Concurrent EEG recordings demonstrate that implicit inferences rely upon interactions between internally and externally oriented networks, whereby prefrontal regions inhibit parietal cortex under internal implicit control.


This article was originally published in Journal of Neuroscience, available at

This work is distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).



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