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Brain Sci. 2014 Oct 23;4(4):509-31. doi: 10.3390/brainsci4040509.

ERP Indices of Stimulus Prediction in Letter Sequences.

Author information

1
Department of Linguistics, University of Florida, Box 115454, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA. kaan@ufl.edu.
2
Department of Linguistics, University of Florida, Box 115454, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA. e.carlisle1017@gmail.com.

Abstract

Given the current focus on anticipation in perception, action and cognition, including language processing, there is a need for a method to tap into predictive processing in situations in which cue and feedback stimuli are not explicitly marked as such. To this aim, event related potentials (ERPs) were obtained while participants viewed alphabetic letter sequences ("A", "B", "C", "D", "E", …), in which the letters were highly predictable, and random sequences ("S", "B", "A", "I", "F", "M", …), without feedback. Occasionally, the presentation of a letter in a sequence was delayed by 300 ms. During this delay period, an increased negativity was observed for predictive versus random sequences. In addition, the early positivity following the delay was larger for predictive compared with random sequences. These results suggest that expectation-sensitive ERP modulations can be elicited in anticipation of stimuli that are not explicit targets, rewards, feedback or instructions, and that a delay can strengthen the prediction for a particular stimulus. Applications to language processing will be discussed.

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