Event simulation (ES) is the situational inference process in which perceived event features such as objects, agents, and actions are associated in the brain to represent the whole situation. ES provides a common basis for various cognitive processes, such as perceptual prediction, situational understanding/prediction, and social cognition (such as mentalizing/trait inference). Here, functional magnetic resonance imaging was used to elucidate the neural substrates underlying important subdivisions within ES. First, the study investigated whether ES depends on different neural substrates when it is conducted explicitly and implicitly. Second, the existence of neural substrates specific to the future-prediction component of ES was assessed. Subjects were shown contextually related object pictures implying a situation and performed several picture-word-matching tasks. By varying task goals, subjects were made to infer the implied situation implicitly/explicitly or predict the future consequence of that situation. The results indicate that, whereas implicit ES activated the lateral prefrontal cortex and medial/lateral parietal cortex, explicit ES activated the medial prefrontal cortex, posterior cingulate cortex, and medial/lateral temporal cortex. Additionally, the left temporoparietal junction plays an important role in the future-prediction component of ES. These findings enrich our understanding of the neural substrates of the implicit/explicit/predictive aspects of ES-related cognitive processes.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)