Temporal anticipation based on memory
Cravo AM., Rohenkohl G., Santos KM., Nobre AC.
<jats:title>Abstract</jats:title><jats:p>The fundamental role that our long-term memories play in guiding perception is increasingly recognised, but the functional and neural mechanisms are just beginning to be explored. Though experimental approaches are being developed to investigate the influence of long-term memories on perception, these remain mostly static and neglect their temporal and dynamic nature. Here we show we show that our long-term memories can guide attention proactively and dynamically based on learned temporal associations. Across two experiments we found that detection and discrimination of targets appearing within previously learned contexts are enhanced when the timing of target appearance matches the learned temporal contingency. Neural markers of temporal preparation revealed that the learned temporal associations trigger specific temporal predictions. Our findings emphasize the ecological role that memories play in predicting and preparing perception of anticipated events, calling for revision of the usual conceptualisation of contextual associative memory as a reflective and retroactive function.</jats:p>