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J Neurosci. 2013 May 15;33(20):8633-9. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.5821-12.2013.

Hearing silences: human auditory processing relies on preactivation of sound-specific brain activity patterns.

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Institute for Psychology, University of Leipzig, 04103 Leipzig, Germany.


The remarkable capabilities displayed by humans in making sense of an overwhelming amount of sensory information cannot be explained easily if perception is viewed as a passive process. Current theoretical and computational models assume that to achieve meaningful and coherent perception, the human brain must anticipate upcoming stimulation. But how are upcoming stimuli predicted in the brain? We unmasked the neural representation of a prediction by omitting the predicted sensory input. Electrophysiological brain signals showed that when a clear prediction can be formulated, the brain activates a template of its response to the predicted stimulus before it arrives to our senses.

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