Nelson and Narens have proposed a metacognition model that dissociates the objective processing of information (object-level) and the subjective evaluation of the performance (i.e., the metalevel). Neurophysiological evidence also indicates that the prefrontal cortices (PFC) are the brain areas which perform the metalevel function [1-3]. A corresponding neural mechanism of Nelson and Narens's model, called dynamic filtering theory [4,5], indicates that object-level processing is distributed in the posterior cortices and regulated by the prefrontal cortices with a filtering or gating mechanism to select appropriate signals and suppress inappropriate signals and noise. Based on this model, a hypothesis can be developed that, in the case of uncertainty or overloading of object-level processing, the prefrontal cortices will become more active in order to modulate signals and noise. This hypothesis is supported by a recent fMRI study  showing that the PFC (Brodmann area 9, BA9) was activated when subjects were overloaded in a bimodal attentional task, compared to a unimodal task. Here, we report a study showing that applying repetitive transmagnetic stimulation (rTMS) over the BA9 in order to interfere with its functional activity resulted in significant increas in guessed responses, compared to three other control conditions (i.e., no-TMS, sham TMS on BA9, and rTMS on Cz). The results are compatible with the dynamic filtering theory and suggest that a malfunction of the PFC would weaken the quality of meta-cognitive percepts and increase the number of guessed responses.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)