Jul 29, 2014

Action enhances predicted touch

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Gregory A MoyerbraileanRoger Pique-Regi


It is widely believed that predicted action outcomes are perceptually attenuated. The present experiments determined whether predictive mechanisms in fact generate attenuation, or instead enhance perception - via neural 'sharpening' mechanisms assumed to operate in sensory cognition domains outside of action. We manipulated probabilistic expectations in a force judgement task. Participants produced actions and rated the intensity of concurrent tactile forces. Experiment 1 confirmed previous findings that action outcomes are perceived less intensely than similar passive stimulation, but demonstrated more intense perception when reducing the contribution of non-predictive gating processes. Experiments 2 and 3 manipulated prediction explicitly and found that expected outcomes are perceived more, not less, intensely than unexpected outcomes. These findings challenge a central tenet of prominent motor control theories and demonstrate that sensorimotor prediction operates via qualitatively similar mechanisms to other prediction and regardless of the sensory domain.

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