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AbstractOur brain is constantly extracting, predicting, and recognising key spatiotemporal features of the physical world in order to survive. While neural processing of visuospatial patterns has been extensively studied, the hierarchical brain mechanisms underlying conscious recognition of auditory sequences and the associated prediction errors remain elusive. Using magnetoencephalography (MEG), we describe the brain functioning of 83 participants during recognition of previously memorised musical sequences and systematic variations. The results show feedforward connections originating from auditory cortices, and extending to the hippocampus, anterior cingulate gyrus, and medial cingulate gyrus. Simultaneously, we observe backward connections operating in the opposite direction. Throughout the sequences, the hippocampus and cingulate gyrus maintain the same hierarchical level, except for the final tone, where the cingulate gyrus assumes the top position within the hierarchy. The evoked responses of memorised sequences and variations engage the same hierarchical brain network but systematically differ in terms of temporal dynamics, strength, and polarity. Furthermore, induced-response analysis shows that alpha and beta power is stronger for the variations, while gamma power is enhanced for the memorised sequences. This study expands on the predictive coding theory by providing quantitative evidence of hierarchical brain mechanisms during conscious memory and predictive processing of auditory sequences.

Original publication




Journal article


Nature Communications


Springer Science and Business Media LLC

Publication Date