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The adaptation model offers a challenge for the predictive coding account of mismatch negativity

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

Article number721574
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>19/11/2021
<mark>Journal</mark>Frontiers in Human Neuroscience
Number of pages10
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


An unpredictable stimulus elicits a stronger event-related response than a high-probability stimulus. This differential in response magnitude is termed the mismatch negativity (MMN). Over the past decade, it has become increasingly popular to explain the MMN terms of predictive coding, a proposed general principle for the way the brain realizes Bayesian inference when it interprets sensory information. This perspective article is a reminder that the issue of MMN generation is far from settled, and that an alternative model in terms of adaptation continues to lurk in the wings. The adaptation model has been discounted because of the unrealistic and simplistic fashion in which it tends to be set up. Here, simulations of auditory cortex incorporating a modern version of the adaptation model are presented. These show that locally operating short-term synaptic depression accounts both for adaptation due to stimulus repetition and for MMN responses. This happens even in cases where adaptation has been ruled out as an explanation of the MMN (e.g., in the stimulus omission paradigm and the multi-standard control paradigm). Simulation models that would demonstrate the viability of predictive coding in a similarly multifaceted way are currently missing from the literature, and the reason for this is discussed in light of the current results.