Geffen Labaratory of Auditory Coding
University of Pennsylvania
Cortico-fugal regulation of predictive coding
Sensory systems must account for both contextual factors and prior experience to adaptively engage with the dynamic external environment. In the central auditory system, neurons modulate their responses to sounds based on statistical context. These response modulations can be understood through a hierarchical predictive coding lens: responses to repeated stimuli are progressively decreased, in a process known as repetition suppression, whereas unexpected stimuli produce a prediction error signal. A potential substrate for top-down predictive cues is the massive set of descending projections from the cortex to subcortical structures, although the role of these cortico-fugal neurons in predictive processing has never been directly assessed. We tested the effect of optogenetic inactivation of the auditory cortico-collicular feedback in awake mice on responses of auditory midbrain neurons to stimuli designed to test prediction error and repetition suppression. Inactivation of the cortico-collicular pathway led to a decrease in prediction error and repetition enhancement in these neurons. Overall, our results demonstrate that the auditory cortex provides cues about the statistical context of sound to subcortical brain regions via direct feedback, regulating processing of both prediction and repetition.
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