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    Temporal Expectation Hastens Decision Onset But Does Not Affect Evidence Quality

    van den Brink, Ruud L. and Murphy, Peter R. and Desender, Kobe and de Ru, Nicole and Nieuwenhuis, Sander (2020) Temporal Expectation Hastens Decision Onset But Does Not Affect Evidence Quality. The Journal of Neuroscience, 41 (1). pp. 130-143. ISSN 0270-6474

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    The ability to predict the timing of forthcoming events, known as temporal expectation, has a strong impact on human information processing. Although there is growing consensus that temporal expectations enhance the speed and accuracy of perceptual decisions, it remains unclear whether they affect the decision process itself, or non-decisional (sensory/motor) processes. Here, healthy human participants (N = 21; 18 female) used predictive auditory cues to anticipate the timing of low-contrast visual stimuli they were required to detect. Modeling of the behavioral data using a prominent sequential sampling model indicated that temporal expectations speeded up non-decisional processes but had no effect on decision formation. Electrophysiological recordings confirmed and extended this result: temporal expectations hastened the onset of a neural signature of decision formation but had no effect on its build-up rate. Anticipatory α band power was modulated by temporal expectation and co-varied with intrinsic trial-by-trial variability in behavioral and neural signatures of the onset latency of the decision process. These findings highlight how temporal predictions optimize our interaction with unfolding sensory events. SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT Temporal expectation enhances performance, but the locus of this effect remains debated. Here, we contrasted the two dominant accounts: enhancement through (1) expedited decision onset, or (2) an increase in the quality of sensory evidence. We manipulated expectations about the onset of a dim visual target using a temporal cueing paradigm, and probed the locus of the expectation effect with two complementary approaches: drift diffusion modeling (DDM) of behavior, and estimation of the onset and progression of the decision process from a supra modal accumulation-to-bound signal in simultaneously measured EEG signals. Behavioral modeling and neural data provided strong, converging evidence for an account in which temporal expectations enhance perception by speeding up decision onset, without affecting evidence quality.

    Item Type: Article
    Keywords: decision-making; EEG; expectation; perception; drift diffusion modeling;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Science and Engineering > Psychology
    Item ID: 18293
    Identification Number:
    Depositing User: Dr Peter Murphy
    Date Deposited: 21 Mar 2024 10:51
    Journal or Publication Title: The Journal of Neuroscience
    Publisher: PubMed Central
    Refereed: Yes
    Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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