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Hierarchical prediction errors in midbrain and basal forebrain during sensory learning


Iglesias, Sandra; Mathys, Christoph; Brodersen, Kay H; Kasper, Lars; Piccirelli, Marco; den Ouden, Hanneke E M; Stephan, Klaas E (2013). Hierarchical prediction errors in midbrain and basal forebrain during sensory learning. Neuron, 80(2):519-530.

Abstract

In Bayesian brain theories, hierarchically related prediction errors (PEs) play a central role for predicting sensory inputs and inferring their underlying causes, e.g., the probabilistic structure of the environment and its volatility. Notably, PEs at different hierarchical levels may be encoded by different neuromodulatory transmitters. Here, we tested this possibility in computational fMRI studies of audio-visual learning. Using a hierarchical Bayesian model, we found that low-level PEs about visual stimulus outcome were reflected by widespread activity in visual and supramodal areas but also in the midbrain. In contrast, high-level PEs about stimulus probabilities were encoded by the basal forebrain. These findings were replicated in two groups of healthy volunteers. While our fMRI measures do not reveal the exact neuron types activated in midbrain and basal forebrain, they suggest a dichotomy between neuromodulatory systems, linking dopamine to low-level PEs about stimulus outcome and acetylcholine to more abstract PEs about stimulus probabilities.

Abstract

In Bayesian brain theories, hierarchically related prediction errors (PEs) play a central role for predicting sensory inputs and inferring their underlying causes, e.g., the probabilistic structure of the environment and its volatility. Notably, PEs at different hierarchical levels may be encoded by different neuromodulatory transmitters. Here, we tested this possibility in computational fMRI studies of audio-visual learning. Using a hierarchical Bayesian model, we found that low-level PEs about visual stimulus outcome were reflected by widespread activity in visual and supramodal areas but also in the midbrain. In contrast, high-level PEs about stimulus probabilities were encoded by the basal forebrain. These findings were replicated in two groups of healthy volunteers. While our fMRI measures do not reveal the exact neuron types activated in midbrain and basal forebrain, they suggest a dichotomy between neuromodulatory systems, linking dopamine to low-level PEs about stimulus outcome and acetylcholine to more abstract PEs about stimulus probabilities.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Biomedical Engineering
Dewey Decimal Classification:170 Ethics
610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:2013
Deposited On:03 Feb 2014 11:25
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 17:12
Publisher:Cell Press (Elsevier)
ISSN:0896-6273
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuron.2013.09.009

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