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The neural basis of temporal prediction

The main goal of the research programme is to understand the neural basis of predictive processing in the human brain, with a particular focus on "when" something will happen.

A large number of wall clocks in many colours. Photo.
Photo: Colourbox

How we predict the future

The human brain actively predicts what will happen next. This ability to predict the “what”, “where”, and “when” of the future enables efficient and dynamic interaction with our surroundings. Prediction of the future optimises information processing and goal-directed behaviour.

A topic of particular interest is to understand how temporal rhythms in our sensory environment guide our attention and predictions.

We use new approaches to study how the brain makes sense of predictive cues and how it reacts and adapts when expectations are not met.

Methodology and programme goals

Using methods ranging from behavioural to scalp- and intracranial EEG, and fMRI in the healthy and the injured brain, we aim to decipher the neural mechanisms involved.

The neurobiological processes underlying the brain’s predictive powers are largely unknown. Thus, the overarching goal is to understand the neural basis of human prediction. Particularly, how the brain makes use of rhythmic information to build expectations of future events and outcomes. For instance, how the degree of unpredictability might be a factor in the perception of groove in music.

To this end, the programme aims to:

  • Understand how regular temporal events support prediction.
  • Identify the electrophysiological signatures of regularity processing.
  • Understand how the brain handles breaches of expectations.
  • Describe how rhythm enhances cognitive performance.
Published Mar. 9, 2020 12:58 PM - Last modified Sep. 23, 2022 9:09 AM