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Recent studies have documented the involvement of the posterior cerebellar Crus (I & II) in social mentalizing, when sequences play a critical role. We investigated for the first time implicit learning of belief sequences. We created a novel task in which true and false beliefs of other persons were alternated in an adapted serial reaction time (SRT) paradigm (Belief SRT task). Participants observed two protagonists whose beliefs concerning reality were manipulated, depending on their orientation toward the scene (true belief: directly observing the situation) or away from it (false belief: knowing only the prior situation). Unbeknownst to the participants, a fixed sequence related to the two protagonists' belief orientations was repeated throughout the task (Training phase); and to test the acquisition of this fixed sequence, it was occasionally interrupted by random sequences (Test phase). As a nonsocial control, the two protagonists and their orientations were replaced by two different shapes of different colors respectively (Control SRT task). As predicted, the posterior cerebellar Crus I & II were activated during the Belief SRT task and not in the Control SRT task. The Belief SRT task revealed that Crus I was activated during the initial learning of the fixed sequence (Training phase) and when this learned sequence was interrupted by random sequences (Test phase). Moreover, Crus II was activated during occasional reappearance of the learned sequence in the context of sequence violations (Test phase). Our results demonstrate the contribution of the posterior cerebellar Crus during implicit learning and predicting new belief sequences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)970-992
Number of pages23
JournalCognitive, Affective & Behavioral Neuroscience
Issue number5
Early online date7 Jun 2021
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021


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