How do we perceive the world?

Perception is not a passive process of registering the world.
Rather, the brain can make use of prior knowledge to actively predict possible future states.
This can help to make sense of the incoming sensory signals and make quick and accurate decisions.
The Predictive Brain Lab sets out to understand how our brain uses prior knowledge to aid perception and decision-making processes.

Anticipation of future events

We showed that early visual cortex performs pattern completion by recreating a stimulus sequence after only a subset of the visual sequence is provided. Interestingly, this ‘pre-played’ sequence was temporally faster compared to the actual sequence and linked to behavioral performance during perception.

Layered fMRI reveals feedforward and feedback processing

Ultra-high resolution fMRI allows for functional data to be acquired from separate cortical layers. Using knowledge of the layer-specific terminations of feedforward and feedback connections in visual cortex, we use this to separate top-down from bottom-up visual responses. For example, increased fMRI responses to an illusory shape stimulus from top-down feedback are only found in the deep layers of V1.

Expectations enhance perception

Here, we combined human magnetoencephalography (MEG) with multivariate decoding techniques to resolve the timing of neural signals induced by expectations. We found that, when auditory cues induced the expectation of a grating of a particular orientation, this evoked a neural template of the expected grating already before the grating was presented. These results suggest a mechanism by which the brain predicts future sensory stimuli in order to enhance perception.

Latest news

Paper accepted in Royal Society Open Science

Every day we translate the sound waves of speech into meaningful words and sentences. When we do that, we categorize ambiguous sounds into discrete percepts (e.g. phonemes /b/ and /d/). Different speakers can pronounce phonemes differently, but our brain...

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Opening the black decoding box

By Pim Mostert Neural decoding, or multivariate pattern analysis (MVPA), is an advanced analysis technique that has steadily gained in popularity over the past decade. However, I have the impression that these analyses are often treated as black boxes: it...

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Paper accepted in The Journal of Neuroscience

Curiosity is one of our most fundamental biological drives and it is important for many things we do in our everyday life. Imagine for example that you hear your phone beep in your pocket. Probably, you will feel the urge to check the message right away,...

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How to get to the lab

Donders Institute

Address

Floris de Lange, PhD
Donders Institute (Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging), Room 01.117
Kapittelweg 29
P.O. Box 9101
NL – 6500 HB Nijmegen
the Netherlands

Phone: +31 24 36 10658
Fax: +31 24 36 10989
e-mail: floris.delange@donders.ru.nl