Cortical oscillations and sensory predictions

Trends Cogn Sci. 2012 Jul;16(7):390-8. doi: 10.1016/j.tics.2012.05.003. Epub 2012 Jun 7.


Many theories of perception are anchored in the central notion that the brain continuously updates an internal model of the world to infer the probable causes of sensory events. In this framework, the brain needs not only to predict the causes of sensory input, but also when they are most likely to happen. In this article, we review the neurophysiological bases of sensory predictions of "what' (predictive coding) and 'when' (predictive timing), with an emphasis on low-level oscillatory mechanisms. We argue that neural rhythms offer distinct and adapted computational solutions to predicting 'what' is going to happen in the sensory environment and 'when'.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anticipation, Psychological / physiology*
  • Attention / physiology*
  • Bayes Theorem
  • Brain Waves / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Perception / physiology*