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Sedation Modulates Frontotemporal Predictive Coding Circuits and the Double Surprise Acceleration Effect

Witon, A., Shirazibehehsti, A., Cooke, J. , Aviles, A., Adapa, R., Menon, D. K., Chennu, S., Bekinschtein, T., Lopez, J. D., Litvak, V., Li, L. ORCID: 0000-0002-4026-0216, Friston, K. & Bowman, H. (2020). Sedation Modulates Frontotemporal Predictive Coding Circuits and the Double Surprise Acceleration Effect. Cerebral Cortex, 30(10), pp. 5204-5217. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhaa071


Two important theories in cognitive neuroscience are predictive coding (PC) and the global workspace (GW) theory. A key research task is to understand how these two theories relate to one another, and particularly, how the brain transitions from a predictive early state to the eventual engagement of a brain-scale state (the GW). To address this question, we present a source-localization of EEG responses evoked by the local-global task—an experimental paradigm that engages a predictive hierarchy, which encompasses the GW. The results of our source reconstruction suggest three phases of processing. The first phase involves the sensory (here auditory) regions of the superior temporal lobe and predicts sensory regularities over a short timeframe (as per the local effect). The third phase is brain-scale, involving inferior frontal, as well as inferior and superior parietal regions, consistent with a global neuronal workspace (GNW; as per the global effect). Crucially, our analysis suggests that there is an intermediate (second) phase, involving modulatory interactions between inferior frontal and superior temporal regions. Furthermore, sedation with propofol reduces modulatory interactions in the second phase. This selective effect is consistent with a PC explanation of sedation, with propofol acting on descending predictions of the precision of prediction errors; thereby constraining access to the GNW.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: ©TheAuthor(s) 2020. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Publisher Keywords: predictive coding, global workspace, source inversion, EEG analysis
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Departments: School of Science & Technology > Engineering
SWORD Depositor:
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