The present fMRI study tested the assumption that a single pairing of a stimulus and a logically unrelated response is sufficient for binding the corresponding stimulus and response codes into an event representation (event file) that is automatically retrieved upon processing of at least one of its components. In particular, we investigated whether repeating a face or a house stimulus and/or a left or a right manual response induces the automatic retrieval of the response or stimulus that it previously accompanied. ROI analyses of fusiform face area, parahippocampal place area, and right and left motor cortex revealed that repeating one component of a previously encountered stimulus-response episode leads to the suppression of cortical areas processing the other components, suggesting that these components were indeed automatically retrieved and conflicted with ongoing processing. The particular pattern obtained is consistent with predictions from diffusion models of decision making, which suggest a crucial role of local competition in response selection.

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