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Preferential encoding of behaviorally relevant predictions revealed by EEG.

Stokes MG, Myers NE, Turnbull J, Nobre AC - Front Hum Neurosci (2014)

Bottom Line: In this electroencephalogram (EEG) study, we test how task relevance influences the way predictions are learned from the statistics of visual input, and exploited for behavior.The behavioral results confirmed that participants learned and exploited task-relevant predictions even when not explicitly defined.These results show that task relevance critically influences how the brain extracts predictive structure from the environment, and exploits these regularities for optimized behavior.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Oxford Oxford, UK ; Oxford Centre for Human Brain Activity, University of Oxford Oxford, UK.

ABSTRACT
Statistical regularities in the environment guide perceptual processing; however, some predictions are bound to be more important than others. In this electroencephalogram (EEG) study, we test how task relevance influences the way predictions are learned from the statistics of visual input, and exploited for behavior. We developed a novel task in which participants are simply instructed to respond to a designated target stimulus embedded in a serial stream of non-target stimuli. Presentation probabilities were manipulated such that a designated target cue stimulus predicted the target onset with 70% validity. We also included a corresponding control contingency: a pre-designated control cue predicted a specific non-target stimulus with 70% validity. Participants were not informed about these contingencies. This design allowed us to examine the neural response to task-relevant predictive (cue) and predicted stimuli (target), relative to task-irrelevant predictive (control cue) and predicted stimuli (control non-target). The behavioral results confirmed that participants learned and exploited task-relevant predictions even when not explicitly defined. The EEG results further showed that target-relevant predictions are coded more strongly than statistically equivalent regularities between non-target stimuli. There was a robust modulation of the response for predicted targets associated with learning, enhancing the response to cued stimuli just after 200 ms post-stimulus in central and posterior electrodes, but no corresponding effects for predicted non-target stimuli. These effects of target prediction were preceded by a sustained frontal negativity following presentation of the predictive cue stimulus. These results show that task relevance critically influences how the brain extracts predictive structure from the environment, and exploits these regularities for optimized behavior.

No MeSH data available.


Event-related potentials to cued and uncued targets and control non-targets, in the first and second half of the experiment. (A) Cued and uncued targets. While there was no difference between cued and uncued target ERPs in the first half of the experiment (left panels), a positivity emerged between cued and uncued targets in the second half (right panels) at central and posterior sites. However, this did not survive cluster correction. (B) Cued and uncued non-targets. There was no evident difference between ERPs for cued and uncued non-targets. Shaded areas indicate SEM. ROIs are shown in Figure 2.
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Figure 3: Event-related potentials to cued and uncued targets and control non-targets, in the first and second half of the experiment. (A) Cued and uncued targets. While there was no difference between cued and uncued target ERPs in the first half of the experiment (left panels), a positivity emerged between cued and uncued targets in the second half (right panels) at central and posterior sites. However, this did not survive cluster correction. (B) Cued and uncued non-targets. There was no evident difference between ERPs for cued and uncued non-targets. Shaded areas indicate SEM. ROIs are shown in Figure 2.

Mentions: To visualize the results for central and posterior electrodes more clearly, the waveforms for cued/uncued target/control non-target stimuli are plotted for each half of the experimental session (Figure 3). These waveforms (Figure 3A) clearly show a cue-related positivity emerge in the second half of the experimental session at central and posterior electrodes, however, there were no significant clusters. For completeness, we also show the equivalent waveforms for the control non-target (Figure 3B).


Preferential encoding of behaviorally relevant predictions revealed by EEG.

Stokes MG, Myers NE, Turnbull J, Nobre AC - Front Hum Neurosci (2014)

Event-related potentials to cued and uncued targets and control non-targets, in the first and second half of the experiment. (A) Cued and uncued targets. While there was no difference between cued and uncued target ERPs in the first half of the experiment (left panels), a positivity emerged between cued and uncued targets in the second half (right panels) at central and posterior sites. However, this did not survive cluster correction. (B) Cued and uncued non-targets. There was no evident difference between ERPs for cued and uncued non-targets. Shaded areas indicate SEM. ROIs are shown in Figure 2.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4151094&req=5

Figure 3: Event-related potentials to cued and uncued targets and control non-targets, in the first and second half of the experiment. (A) Cued and uncued targets. While there was no difference between cued and uncued target ERPs in the first half of the experiment (left panels), a positivity emerged between cued and uncued targets in the second half (right panels) at central and posterior sites. However, this did not survive cluster correction. (B) Cued and uncued non-targets. There was no evident difference between ERPs for cued and uncued non-targets. Shaded areas indicate SEM. ROIs are shown in Figure 2.
Mentions: To visualize the results for central and posterior electrodes more clearly, the waveforms for cued/uncued target/control non-target stimuli are plotted for each half of the experimental session (Figure 3). These waveforms (Figure 3A) clearly show a cue-related positivity emerge in the second half of the experimental session at central and posterior electrodes, however, there were no significant clusters. For completeness, we also show the equivalent waveforms for the control non-target (Figure 3B).

Bottom Line: In this electroencephalogram (EEG) study, we test how task relevance influences the way predictions are learned from the statistics of visual input, and exploited for behavior.The behavioral results confirmed that participants learned and exploited task-relevant predictions even when not explicitly defined.These results show that task relevance critically influences how the brain extracts predictive structure from the environment, and exploits these regularities for optimized behavior.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Oxford Oxford, UK ; Oxford Centre for Human Brain Activity, University of Oxford Oxford, UK.

ABSTRACT
Statistical regularities in the environment guide perceptual processing; however, some predictions are bound to be more important than others. In this electroencephalogram (EEG) study, we test how task relevance influences the way predictions are learned from the statistics of visual input, and exploited for behavior. We developed a novel task in which participants are simply instructed to respond to a designated target stimulus embedded in a serial stream of non-target stimuli. Presentation probabilities were manipulated such that a designated target cue stimulus predicted the target onset with 70% validity. We also included a corresponding control contingency: a pre-designated control cue predicted a specific non-target stimulus with 70% validity. Participants were not informed about these contingencies. This design allowed us to examine the neural response to task-relevant predictive (cue) and predicted stimuli (target), relative to task-irrelevant predictive (control cue) and predicted stimuli (control non-target). The behavioral results confirmed that participants learned and exploited task-relevant predictions even when not explicitly defined. The EEG results further showed that target-relevant predictions are coded more strongly than statistically equivalent regularities between non-target stimuli. There was a robust modulation of the response for predicted targets associated with learning, enhancing the response to cued stimuli just after 200 ms post-stimulus in central and posterior electrodes, but no corresponding effects for predicted non-target stimuli. These effects of target prediction were preceded by a sustained frontal negativity following presentation of the predictive cue stimulus. These results show that task relevance critically influences how the brain extracts predictive structure from the environment, and exploits these regularities for optimized behavior.

No MeSH data available.