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This article is part of the Research Topic Resolving Uncertainty in Perception

Original Research ARTICLE

Front. Hum. Neurosci., 26 March 2014 | http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fnhum.2014.00152

Both attention and prediction are necessary for adaptive neuronal tuning in sensory processing

  • 1Université Paris Descartes, Sorbonne Paris Cité, Paris, France
  • 2CNRS, Laboratoire Psychologie de la Perception, UMR 8242, Paris, France
  • 3Department of Psychology, University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, Finland

The brain as a proactive system processes sensory information under the top-down influence of attention and prediction. However, the relation between attention and prediction remains undetermined given the conflation of these two mechanisms in the literature. To evaluate whether attention and prediction are dependent of each other, and if so, how these two top-down mechanisms may interact in sensory processing, we orthogonally manipulated attention and prediction in a target detection task. Participants were instructed to pay attention to one of two interleaved stimulus streams of predictable/unpredictable tone frequency. We found that attention and prediction interacted on the amplitude of the N1 ERP component. The N1 amplitude in the attended/predictable condition was larger than that in any of the other conditions. Dipole source localization analysis showed that the effect came from the activation in bilateral auditory areas. No significant effect was found in the P2 time window. Our results suggest that attention and prediction are dependent of each other. While attention might determine the overall cortical responsiveness to stimuli when prediction is involved, prediction might provide an anchor for the modulation of the synaptic input strengths which needs to be operated on the basis of attention.

Keywords: attention, prediction, sensory processing, electroencephalography, event-related potentials

Citation: Hsu Y-F, Hämäläinen JA and Waszak F (2014) Both attention and prediction are necessary for adaptive neuronal tuning in sensory processing. Front. Hum. Neurosci. 8:152. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2014.00152

Received: 22 January 2014; Accepted: 28 February 2014;
Published online: 26 March 2014.

Edited by:

Harriet Brown, University College London, UK

Reviewed by:

Ana Todorovic, Radboud University Nijmegen, Netherlands
Ryszard Auksztulewicz, University College London, UK

Copyright © 2014 Hsu, Hämäläinen and Waszak. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

*Correspondence: Yi-Fang Hsu, Université Paris Descartes, Sorbonne Paris Cité and CNRS, Laboratoire sychologie de la Perception, UMR 8242, 45 Rue des Saints-Pères, 75006 Paris, France e-mail: yi-fang.hsu@cantab.net