Investigating predictive coding in younger and older children using MEG and a multi-feature auditory oddball paradigm

Hannah Rapaport*, Robert A. Seymour*, Nicholas Benikos, Wei He, Elizabeth Pellicano, Jon Brock, Paul F. Sowman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
36 Downloads (Pure)


There is mounting evidence for predictive coding theory from computational, neuroimaging, and psychological research. However, there remains a lack of research exploring how predictive brain function develops across childhood. To address this gap, we used pediatric magnetoencephalography to record the evoked magnetic fields of 18 younger children (M = 4.1 years) and 19 older children (M = 6.2 years) as they listened to a 12-min auditory oddball paradigm. For each child, we computed a mismatch field "MMF": an electrophysiological component that is widely interpreted as a neural signature of predictive coding. At the sensor level, the older children showed significantly larger MMF amplitudes relative to the younger children. At the source level, the older children showed a significantly larger MMF amplitude in the right inferior frontal gyrus relative to the younger children, P < 0.05. No differences were found in 2 other key regions (right primary auditory cortex and right superior temporal gyrus) thought to be involved in mismatch generation. These findings support the idea that predictive brain function develops during childhood, with increasing involvement of the frontal cortex in response to prediction errors. These findings contribute to a deeper understanding of the brain function underpinning child cognitive development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7489–7499
Number of pages11
JournalCerebral Cortex
Issue number12
Early online date16 Mar 2023
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jun 2023

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2023. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • magnetoencephalography
  • auditory
  • mismatch field
  • child


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