Statistical learning attenuates visual activity only for attended stimuli
SourceElife, 8, (2019), article e47869
Article / Letter to editor
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PI Group Predictive Brain
SW OZ DCC BO
SW OZ DCC CO
Subject180 000 Predictive Brain; Action, intention, and motor control
Perception and behavior can be guided by predictions, which are often based on learned statistical regularities. Neural responses to expected stimuli are frequently found to be attenuated after statistical learning. However, whether this sensory attenuation following statistical learning occurs automatically or depends on attention remains unknown. In the present fMRI study, we exposed human volunteers to sequentially presented object stimuli, in which the first object predicted the identity of the second object. We observed a reliable attenuation of neural activity for expected compared to unexpected stimuli in the ventral visual stream. Crucially, this sensory attenuation was only apparent when stimuli were attended, and vanished when attention was directed away from the predictable objects. These results put important constraints on neurocomputational theories that cast perception as a process of probabilistic integration of prior knowledge and sensory information.
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