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Feature-specific prediction errors for visual mismatch.

08:00 EDT 9th April 2019 | BioPortfolio

Summary of "Feature-specific prediction errors for visual mismatch."

Predictive coding (PC) theory posits that our brain employs a predictive model of the environment to infer the causes of its sensory inputs. A fundamental but untested prediction of this theory is that the same stimulus should elicit distinct precision weighted prediction errors (pwPEs) when different (feature-specific) predictions are violated, even in the absence of attention. Here, we tested this hypothesis using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and a multi-feature roving visual mismatch paradigm where rare changes in either color (red, green), or emotional expression (happy, fearful) of faces elicited pwPE responses in human participants. Using a computational model of learning and inference, we simulated pwPE and prediction trajectories of a Bayes-optimal observer and used these to analyze changes in blood oxygen level dependent (BOLD) responses to changes in color and emotional expression of faces while participants engaged in a distractor task. Controlling for visual attention by eye-tracking, we found pwPE responses to unexpected color changes in the fusiform gyrus. Conversely, unexpected changes of facial emotions elicited pwPE responses in cortico-thalamo-cerebellar structures associated with emotion and theory of mind processing. Predictions pertaining to emotions activated fusiform, occipital and temporal areas. Our results are consistent with a general role of PC across perception, from low-level to complex and socially relevant object features, and suggest that monitoring of the social environment occurs continuously and automatically, even in the absence of attention.

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This article was published in the following journal.

Name: NeuroImage
ISSN: 1095-9572
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