Fluctuations in alpha and beta power provide neural states favourable for contextually relevant anticipatory processes

Roehe, M.A.; Kluger, D.; Schubotz, R.I.

Research article (journal)


Cued sensory input occasionally fails to immediately ensue its respective trigger. Given that our environments are rich in sensory cues, we often end up processing other contextually relevant information in the meantime. The experimental design of the present study allowed us to investigate how such temporal delays and visual interferences may impact anticipatory processes. Thirty-four participants were trained to remember an individualised set of eight paired-up faces. These paired-up faces were presented pseudorandomly in sequences of unpaired face images. To keep participants engaged throughout the electroencephalography study, they were instructed to classify each face image, according to its sex, as fast as possible without compromising accuracy. We observed dissimilar modulations in alpha and beta power between the 6-s timeframe encompassing the onsets of predictive and expected images (temporal delay block) and the 6-s timeframe encompassing the predictive, interference and expected images (visual interference block). Furthermore, an expectation-facilitated reduction of the face-sensitive N170 component was only observed if an anticipated face image directly followed its corresponding predictive counterpart. This effect was no longer evident when the expected face was preceded by a distracting face image. Regardless of the block type, behavioural measures confirmed that anticipated faces were classified significantly faster and with fewer erroneous responses than faces not foretold by a predictive face. Collectively, these results demonstrate that whilst the brain continuously adjusts internal hierarchical generative models to account for temporal delays in stimulus onset and visual interferences, the higher levels, and subsequent predictions, fundamental for expectation-facilitated behaviours remain intact.

Details zur Publikation

Release year: 2023