Abstract

Tavano, A., Widmann, A., Bendixen, A., Trujillo-Barreto, N. J., & Schröger, E. (2014). Temporal regularity facilitates higher-order sensory predictions in fast auditory sequences. European Journal of Neuroscience, 39(2), 308-318.

Temporal regularity facilitates higher-order sensory predictions in fast auditory sequences

Does temporal regularity facilitate prediction in audition? To test this, we recorded human event-related potentials (ERPs) to frequent standard tones and infrequent pitch deviant tones, pre-attentively delivered within isochronous and anisochronous (20% onset jitter) rapid sequences. Deviant tones were repeated, either with high or low probability. Standard tone repetition sets a first-order prediction, which is violated by deviant tone onset, leading to a first-order prediction error response (Mismatch Negativity). The response to highly probable deviant repetitions is however attenuated relative to less probable repetitions, reflecting the formation of higher-order sensory predictions. Results show that temporal regularity is required for higher-order predictions, but does not modulate first-order prediction error responses. Inverse solution analyses (VARETA) localized the error response attenuation to posterior regions of the left superior temporal gyrus. In a control experiment with a slower stimulus rate, we found no evidence for higher-order predictions, and again no effect of temporal information on first-order prediction error. We conclude that: 1) Temporal regularity facilitates the establishing of higher- order sensory predictions - i.e., "knowing what next" - in fast auditory sequences; 2) First-order prediction error relies predominantly on stimulus feature mismatch, reflecting the adaptive fit of fast deviance detection processes.



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