Learning about temporal structure is adaptive because it enables the generation of expectations. We examined how the brain uses experience in structured environments to anticipate upcoming events. During fMRI, individuals watched a 90-second movie clip six times. Using a Hidden Markov Model applied to searchlights across the whole brain, we identified temporal shifts between activity patterns evoked by the first vs. repeated viewings of the movie clip. In many regions throughout the cortex, neural activity patterns for repeated viewings shifted to precede those of initial viewing by up to 15 seconds. This anticipation varied hierarchically in a posterior (less anticipation) to anterior (more anticipation) fashion. We also identified specific regions in which the timing of the brain's event boundaries were related to those of human-labeled event boundaries, with the timing of this relationship shifting on repeated viewings. With repeated viewing, the brain's event boundaries came to precede human-annotated boundaries by 1-4 seconds on average. Together, these results demonstrate a hierarchy of anticipatory signals in the human brain and link them to subjective experiences of events.
We used a publicly-available dataset, from https://openneuro.org/datasets/ds001545/versions/1.1.1
Learning Naturalistic Temporal Structure in the Posterior Medial NetworkOpenNeuro ds001545.
The authors declare that there was no funding for this work.
- Marius V Peelen, Radboud University, Netherlands
- Received: November 17, 2020
- Accepted: April 21, 2021
- Accepted Manuscript published: April 22, 2021 (version 1)
© 2021, Lee et al.
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