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Real-world expectations and their affective value modulate object processing

Abstract : It is well known that expectations influence how we perceive the world. Yet the neural mechanisms underlying this process remain unclear. Studies about the effects of prior expectations have focused so far on artificial contingencies between simple neutral cues and events. Real-world expectations are however often generated from complex associations between contexts and objects learned over a lifetime. Additionally, these expectations may contain some affective value and recent proposals present conflicting hypotheses about the mechanisms underlying affect in predictions. In this study, we used fMRI to investigate how object processing is influenced by realistic context-based expectations, and how affect impacts these expectations. First, we show that the precuneus, the inferotemporal cortex and the frontal cortex are more active during object recognition when expectations have been elicited a priori, irrespectively of their validity or their affective intensity. This result supports previous hypotheses according to which these brain areas integrate contextual expectations with object sensory information. Notably, these brain areas are different from those responsible for simultaneous context-object interactions , dissociating the two processes. Then, we show that early visual areas, on the contrary, are more active during object recognition when no prior expectation has been elicited by a context. Lastly, BOLD activity was shown to be enhanced in early visual areas when objects are less expected, but only when contexts are neutral; the reverse effect is observed when contexts are affective. This result supports the proposal that affect modulates the weighting of sensory information during predictions. Together, our results help elucidate the neural mechanisms of real-world expectations.
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Contributor : Bruno Wicker <>
Submitted on : Thursday, March 19, 2020 - 6:30:24 PM
Last modification on : Saturday, March 21, 2020 - 1:36:08 AM

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Laurent Caplette, Frédéric Gosselin, Martial Mermillod, Bruno Wicker. Real-world expectations and their affective value modulate object processing. NeuroImage, Elsevier, 2020, ⟨10.1016/j.neuroimage.2020.116736⟩. ⟨hal-02512645⟩

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