Evidence from auditory and visual event-related potential (ERP) studies of deviance detection (MMN and vMMN) linking predictive coding theories and perceptual object representations

Int J Psychophysiol. 2012 Feb;83(2):132-43. doi: 10.1016/j.ijpsycho.2011.10.001. Epub 2011 Oct 30.


Predictive coding theories posit that the perceptual system is structured as a hierarchically organized set of generative models with increasingly general models at higher levels. The difference between model predictions and the actual input (prediction error) drives model selection and adaptation processes minimizing the prediction error. Event-related brain potentials elicited by sensory deviance are thought to reflect the processing of prediction error at an intermediate level in the hierarchy. We review evidence from auditory and visual studies of deviance detection suggesting that the memory representations inferred from these studies meet the criteria set for perceptual object representations. Based on this evidence we then argue that these perceptual object representations are closely related to the generative models assumed by predictive coding theories.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation / methods
  • Animals
  • Attention / physiology
  • Auditory Perception / physiology*
  • Evoked Potentials / physiology
  • Evoked Potentials, Auditory / physiology*
  • Evoked Potentials, Visual / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Memory / physiology
  • Photic Stimulation / methods
  • Visual Perception / physiology*