Kimura, M., Kondo, H., Ohira, H., & Schröger, E. (2012). Unintentional Temporal Context-Based Prediction of Emotional Faces: An Electrophysiological Study. Cerebral Cortex, 22(8), 1774-1785.

Unintentional Temporal Context-Based Prediction of Emotional Faces: An Electrophysiological Study

The ability to extract sequential regularities embedded in the temporal context or temporal structure of sensory events and to predict upcoming events based on the extracted sequential regularities plays a central role in human cognition. In the present study, we demonstrate that, without any intention, upcoming emotional faces can be predicted based on sequential regularities, by showing that prediction error responses as reflected by visual mismatch negativity (MMN), an event-related brain potential (ERP) component, were evoked in response to emotional faces that violated a regular alternation pattern of 2 emotional faces (fearful and happy faces) under a situation where the emotional faces themselves were unrelated to the participant's task. Face-inversion and negative-bias effects in the visual MMN further indicated the involvement of holistic face representations. In addition, through successive source analyses of the visual MMN, it was revealed that the prediction error responses were composed of activations mainly in the face-responsible visual extrastriate areas and the prefrontal areas. The present results provide primary evidence for the existence of the unintentional temporal context-based prediction of biologically relevant visual stimuli as well as empirical support for the major engagement of the visual and prefrontal areas in unintentional temporal context-based prediction in vision.


Cognitive and Biological Psychology

University of Leipzig
Faculty of Biosciences, Pharmacy and Psychology
Institute of Psychology
Neumarkt 9-19
D-04109 Leipzig


Dagmar Schrödl
Phone: +49 341 97-39570
Email: dagmar dot schroedl at uni-leipzig dot de

Dorit Thieme
Phone: +49 341 97-39540
Email: d dot thieme at uni-leipzig dot de

Fax: +49 341 97-39271