Limited Evidence for Sensory Prediction Error Responses in Visual Cortex of Macaques and Humans

Selina S. Solomon, Huizhen Tang, Elyse Sussman, Adam Kohn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


A recent formulation of predictive coding theory proposes that a subset of neurons in each cortical area encodes sensory prediction errors, the difference between predictions relayed from higher cortex and the sensory input. Here, we test for evidence of prediction error responses in spiking responses and local field potentials (LFP) recorded in primary visual cortex and area V4 of macaque monkeys, and in complementary electroencephalographic (EEG) scalp recordings in human participants. We presented a fixed sequence of visual stimuli on most trials, and violated the expected ordering on a small subset of trials. Under predictive coding theory, pattern-violating stimuli should trigger robust prediction errors, but we found that spiking, LFP and EEG responses to expected and pattern-violating stimuli were nearly identical. Our results challenge the assertion that a fundamental computational motif in sensory cortex is to signal prediction errors, at least those based on predictions derived from temporal patterns of visual stimulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3136-3152
Number of pages17
JournalCerebral Cortex
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2021


  • VEP
  • adaptation
  • area V4
  • local field potential
  • omission
  • predictive coding
  • primary visual cortex
  • repetition suppression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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