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J Neurophysiol. 2015 Aug;114(2):1227-38. doi: 10.1152/jn.00149.2015. Epub 2015 Jun 10.

Prediction strength modulates responses in human area CA1 to sequence violations.

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Department of Psychology, Stanford University, Stanford, California; and
Department of Psychology, Stanford University, Stanford, California; and.
Department of Psychology, Stanford University, Stanford, California; and Neurosciences Program, Stanford University, Stanford, California.


Emerging human, animal, and computational evidence suggest that, within the hippocampus, stored memories are compared with current sensory input to compute novelty, i.e., detecting when inputs deviate from expectations. Hippocampal subfield CA1 is thought to detect mismatches between past and present, and detected novelty is thought to modulate encoding processes, providing a mechanism for gating the entry of information into memory. Using high-resolution functional MRI, we examined human hippocampal subfield and medial temporal lobe cortical activation during prediction violations within a sequence of events unfolding over time. Subjects encountered sequences of four visual stimuli that were then reencountered in the same temporal order (Repeat) or a rearranged order (Violation). Prediction strength was manipulated by varying whether the sequence was initially presented once (Weak) or thrice (Strong) prior to the critical Repeat or Violation sequence. Analyses of blood oxygen level-dependent signals revealed that task-responsive voxels in anatomically defined CA1, CA23/dentate gyrus, and perirhinal cortex were more active when expectations were violated than when confirmed. Additionally, stronger prediction violations elicited greater activity than weaker violations in CA1, and CA1 contained the greatest proportion of voxels displaying this prediction violation pattern relative to other medial temporal lobe regions. Finally, a memory test with a separate group of subjects showed that subsequent recognition memory was superior for items that had appeared in prediction violation trials than in prediction confirmation trials. These findings indicate that CA1 responds to temporal order prediction violations, and that this response is modulated by prediction strength.


associative novelty; comparator; declarative memory; fMRI; mismatch detection

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