October 23, 2020

The temporal characteristics of expectations and prediction errors in pain

In the context of a generative model, such as predictive coding, pain perception can be construed as the integration of expectation and nociceptive input with their difference denoted as a prediction error. In a previous neuroimaging study (Geuter et al., 2017) we observed an important role of the insula in such a model, but could not establish its temporal aspects. Here we employed electroencephalography to investigate neural representations of predictions and prediction errors in heat pain processing. Our data show that alpha-to-beta activity was associated with pain expectation, followed by gamma band activity associated with absolute prediction errors. Source reconstruction revealed the insula as a common region for both effects. This temporal sequence of expectation related alpha-to-beta activity, followed by prediction error associated gamma activity in the insula, provides a possible mechanisms for the temporal integrating of pain predictions and prediction errors in the context of a generative model.

 bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience

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