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Feature-specific prediction errors for visual mismatch


Stefanics, Gabor; Stephan, Klaas Enno; Heinzle, Jakob (2019). Feature-specific prediction errors for visual mismatch. NeuroImage, 196:142-151.

Abstract

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.

Abstract

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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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
Scopus Subject Areas:Life Sciences > Neurology
Life Sciences > Cognitive Neuroscience
Uncontrolled Keywords:Cognitive Neuroscience, Neurology
Language:English
Date:1 August 2019
Deposited On:04 Jun 2019 14:22
Last Modified:29 Jul 2020 10:47
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:1053-8119
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2019.04.020
PubMed ID:30978499

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