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Task relevance modulates the behavioural and neural effects of sensory predictions

Auksztulewicz, R; Friston, KJ; Nobre, AC; (2017) Task relevance modulates the behavioural and neural effects of sensory predictions. PLoS Biology , 15 (12) , Article e2003143. 10.1371/journal.pbio.2003143. Green open access

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The brain is thought to generate internal predictions to optimize behaviour. However, it is unclear whether predictions signalling is an automatic brain function or depends on task demands. Here, we manipulated the spatial/temporal predictability of visual targets, and the relevance of spatial/temporal information provided by auditory cues. We used magnetoencephalography (MEG) to measure participants' brain activity during task performance. Task relevance modulated the influence of predictions on behaviour: spatial/temporal predictability improved spatial/temporal discrimination accuracy, but not vice versa. To explain these effects, we used behavioural responses to estimate subjective predictions under an ideal-observer model. Model-based time-series of predictions and prediction errors (PEs) were associated with dissociable neural responses: predictions correlated with cue-induced beta-band activity in auditory regions and alpha-band activity in visual regions, while stimulus-bound PEs correlated with gamma-band activity in posterior regions. Crucially, task relevance modulated these spectral correlates, suggesting that current goals influence PE and prediction signalling.

Type: Article
Title: Task relevance modulates the behavioural and neural effects of sensory predictions
Location: United States
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.2003143
Publisher version: http://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.2003143
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2017 Auksztulewicz et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10041284
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