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Erich Schröger: Attention and Prediction in Audition

27.05.2014 | 18:00 - 20:00

Prof. Dr. Erich Schröger (Universität Leipzig)


I will present two classical theories of voluntary attention from cognitive psychophysiology (e.g. Hillyard et al., 1973; Näätänen, 1982), one prevailing theory of involuntary attention (e.g. Näätänen, 1992) and contrast/relate those to recent findings from research on the increasingly popular field of (auditory) prediction. As attention is obviously related to prediction, the relation between these fields / concepts is of interest. First, I will show that the auditory system exploits regularities in the transitions between successive events in order to prepare for forthcoming sounds (transitions between auditory events as indicated by the MMN) that can readily explain a subset of phenomena belonging to involuntary attention. Second I will show newly reported omission effects further strengthen the predictive coding view of the brain. Third, I will show that also transitions between visual and auditory events (as indicated by the IR) and transitions between motor and auditory events (as indicated by N1/P2 suppression) can generate auditory predictions. It will turn out that the effects of attention and prediction sometimes go into opposite directions, but that they happen to occur in an overlapping time range. This poses the question of whether the repeatedly reported prediction effects are in fact effects of attention. The forth part of the talk will argue against this attentional account of (some of the) prediction effects. However, there remains the question of how attention and prediction are related. The answer to this question strongly depends (as usually) on the definition of attention and prediction or on the specific type of attention and prediction being under consideration. If, for example, one confines attention to the processing of the selection of task‐relevant information and prediction to the exploitation of predictability of the sensory input, the question is similar to the traditional question on the relation between voluntary and involuntary attention (Cattell, 1886; James, 1890). Another approach could be to stay within one framework (e.g. attention) and consider (possible) contributions from the other framework (e.g. prediction) to that. I will try to pin‐point few possibilities where / how attention can kick in from the view of the predictive coding framework.


Zeit & Ort

27.05.2014 | 18:00 - 20:00

JK 29/118 (Habelschwerdter Allee 45)