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.


Cognitive and Biological Psychology

University of Leipzig
Faculty of Life Sciences
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

Fax: +49 341 97-39271