Same but different: the latency of a shared expectation signal interacts with stimulus attributes

Benjamin G. Lowe*, Jonathan E. Robinson, Naohide Yamamoto, Hinze Hogendoorn, Patrick Johnston

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Downloads (Pure)


Predictive coding theories assert that perceptual inference is a hierarchical process of belief updating, wherein the onset of unexpected sensory data causes so-called prediction error responses that calibrate erroneous inferences. Given the functionally specialised organisation of visual cortex, it is assumed that prediction error propagation interacts with the specific visual attribute violating an expectation. We sought to test this within the temporal domain by applying time-resolved decoding methods to electroencephalography (EEG) data evoked by contextual trajectory violations of either brightness, size, or orientation within a bound stimulus. We found that following ∼170 ms post stimulus onset, responses to both size violations and orientation violations were decodable from physically identical control trials in which no attributes were violated. These two violation types were then directly compared, with attribute-specific signalling being decoded from 265 ms. Temporal generalisation suggested that this dissociation was driven by latency shifts in shared expectation signalling between the two conditions. Using a novel temporal bias method, we then found that this shared signalling occurred earlier for size violations than orientation violations. To our knowledge, we are among the first to decode expectation violations in humans using EEG and have demonstrated a temporal dissociation in attribute-specific expectancy violations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-156
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - Nov 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.


  • decoding
  • EEG
  • expectation violation
  • prediction error
  • visual attributes


Dive into the research topics of 'Same but different: the latency of a shared expectation signal interacts with stimulus attributes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this