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Cerebellum, temporal predictability and the updating of a mental model

Cerebellum, temporal predictability and the updating of a mental model

Authors: 
Sonja A. Kotz, Anika Stockert and Michael Schwartze
Year: 
2014
Journal: 
The Royal Society of Philosophical Transactions
Abstract: 

We live in a dynamic and changing environment, which necessitates that we adapt to and efficiently respond to changes of stimulus form (‘what’) and stimulus occurrence (‘when’). Consequently, behaviour is optimal when we can anticipate both the ‘what’ and ‘when’ dimensions of a stimulus. For example, to perceive a temporally expected stimulus, a listener needs to establish a fairly precise internal representation of its external temporal structure, a function ascribed to classical sensorimotor areas such as the cerebellum. Here we investigated how patients with cerebellar lesions and healthy matched controls exploit temporal regularity during auditory deviance processing. We expected modulations of the N2b and P3b components of the event-related potential in response to deviant tones, and also a stronger P3b response when deviant tones are embedded in temporally regular compared to irregular tone sequences. We further tested to what degree structural damage to the cerebellar temporal processing system affects the N2b and P3b responses associated with voluntary attention to change detection and the predictive adaptation of a mental model of the environment, respectively. Results revealed that healthy controls and cerebellar patients display an increased N2b response to deviant tones independent of temporal context. However, while healthy controls showed the expected enhanced P3b response to deviant tones in temporally regular sequences, the P3b response in cerebellar patients was significantly smaller in these sequences. The current data provide evidence that structural damage to the cerebellum affects the predictive adaptation to the temporal structure of events and the updating of a mental model of the environment under voluntary attention.

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