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Publication Detail
Great expectations: Is there evidence for predictive coding in auditory cortex?
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Publication Sub Type:
    Review
  • Authors:
    Heilbron M, Chait M
  • Publication date:
    04/08/2017
  • Journal:
    Neuroscience
  • Medium:
    Print-Electronic
  • Print ISSN:
    0306-4522
  • Language:
    eng
  • Addresses:
    Département de Biologie, École Normale Supérieure, Paris 75005, France; Université Pierre et Marie Curie P6, Paris 75005, France. Electronic address: micha.heilbron@ens.fr.
Abstract
Predictive coding is possibly one of the most influential, comprehensive, and controversial theories of neural function. Whilst proponents praise its explanatory potential, critics object that key tenets of the theory are untested or even untestable. The present article critically examines existing evidence for predictive coding in the auditory modality. Specifically, we identify five key assumptions of the theory and evaluate each in the light of animal, human and modelling studies of auditory pattern processing. For the first two assumptions - that neural responses are shaped by expectations and that these expectations are hierarchically organised - animal and human studies provide compelling evidence. The anticipatory, predictive nature of these expectations also enjoys empirical support, especially from studies on unexpected stimulus omission. However, for the existence of separate error and prediction neurons, a key assumption of the theory, evidence is lacking. More work exists on the proposed oscillatory signatures of predictive coding, and on the relation between attention and precision. However, results on these latter two assumptions are mixed or contradictory. Looking to the future, more collaboration between human and animal studies, aided by model-based analyses will be needed to test specific assumptions and implementations of predictive coding - and, as such, help determine whether this popular grand theory can fulfil its expectations.
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