The auditory brain in action: Intention determines predictive processing in the auditory system-A review of current paradigms and findings

Psychon Bull Rev. 2022 Apr;29(2):321-342. doi: 10.3758/s13423-021-01992-z. Epub 2021 Sep 10.


According to the ideomotor theory, action may serve to produce desired sensory outcomes. Perception has been widely described in terms of sensory predictions arising due to top-down input from higher order cortical areas. Here, we demonstrate that the action intention results in reliable top-down predictions that modulate the auditory brain responses. We bring together several lines of research, including sensory attenuation, active oddball, and action-related omission studies: Together, the results suggest that the intention-based predictions modulate several steps in the sound processing hierarchy, from preattentive to evaluation-related processes, also when controlling for additional prediction sources (i.e., sound regularity). We propose an integrative theoretical framework-the extended auditory event representation system (AERS), a model compatible with the ideomotor theory, theory of event coding, and predictive coding. Initially introduced to describe regularity-based auditory predictions, we argue that the extended AERS explains the effects of action intention on auditory processing while additionally allowing studying the differences and commonalities between intention- and regularity-based predictions-we thus believe that this framework could guide future research on action and perception.

Keywords: Action–effect predictions; Auditory processing; Extended auditory event representation system; Ideomotor theory; Intentional action; Predictive coding.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation
  • Auditory Perception / physiology
  • Brain / physiology
  • Evoked Potentials, Auditory* / physiology
  • Humans
  • Intention*
  • Sound