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Attention, prediction and fMRI
Class project: due Tues. April 29th
April 29th: Just before start of “reading week”
How long?
• The shorter the better! Max. 6 pages
• Front-load the information
• 1st sentence: What Q are you asking?
• 2nd sentence: How are you going to ask it?
• 3rd sentence: Why should the reader care?
Class project: due Tues. April 29th
• Show that you have explored to find out what
is currently known, what is unknown
• Show that you have thought about what an
interesting new direction to look would be
• Describe in broad terms an expt which would
look in that direction
• State an explicit hypothesis
• Describe explicitly how the data will test that
Give elevator pitch?
What is attention?
Obligatory William James quote:
"Everyone knows what attention is. It is the taking
possession by the mind in clear and vivid form, of one
out of what seem several simultaneously possible
objects or trains of thought...It implies withdrawal from
some things in order to deal effectively with others,
and is a condition which has a real opposite in the
confused, dazed, scatterbrained state."
Principles of Psychology(1890, p. 403)
What is attention? (continued)
Task relevance
Related to consciousness?
Is it a single “thing”?
Can you pay attention to two things at once?
Is it like a spotlight?
What is expectation?
We always have expectations about what will
be happening next
How do we form those expectations?
What are they based on?
How does the brain represent those
Expectation, prediction and memory
Traditional view of memory
• The purpose of memory is to remember the past
Prospective view of memory
• The purpose of memory is to predict the future,
using the past as a basis
Two types of attention, and how to elicit them
Posner task: Endogenous and exogenous attention
Task-driven and stimulus-driven attention
Prediction and prediction errors
Predictive coding
Subtract expectations from bottom-up input
Helmholtz, Mumford, Rao & Ballard, Friston
Jehee & Ballard (2009)
Top-down enhancement
Kastner et al. (1999)
Attention within a receptive field:
Moran & Desimone (1985)
Figure from
Trying to pull apart attention and
Kok et al. 2012
Trying to pull apart attention and
expectation: predictions
Kok et al. 2012
Trying to pull apart attention and
expectation: results
Kok et al. 2012
Top-down feedback of information:
Decoding the yellow of a gray banana
Bannert & Bartels, 2013
Top-down feedback of information:
Decoding the yellow of a gray banana
Bannert & Bartels, 2013
Thursday: computer practical with
Dan Cole
Coding stimulus onsets in SPM
Fitting a basic general linear model: which
areas light up?
Not the really interesting question, but a key
step along the way!