• wednesday, 27 april 2022—12:15

    Predictions and surprise in the infant brain

    Claire Kabdebon, Ecole Normale Supérieure de Paris

    This seminar will take place at ULB Solbosch, but if you are unable to attend in person, it is also possible to follow the seminar online on Teams: https://bit.ly/3xUbKMe


    The infant brain is an exceptionally efficient learning machinery, able to extract complex knowledge by mere exposure to a noisy and ambiguous environment, typically devoid of any explicit feedback. Over the last few years, a new vision of cognitive development has emerged to account for these early accomplishments, postulating that infants actively generate predictions about their environment, and revise these predictions in the light of sensory input to derive knowledge. Despite a wealth of literature supporting this perspective at the behavioral level, it remains unclear whether and how this strategy is implemented at the neural level. To address this question, we present 36 4-month-old infants with a cross-modal cueing paradigm in which auditory cues acted as predictive signals about upcoming visual events. Combining the respective advantages of mismatch and omission protocols, we recorded electroencephalographic responses to predictive and non-predictive sounds, expected and unexpected images, as well as expected and unexpected visual omissions. Event-related analyses indicate the presence of mismatch responses to unexpected images, as well as anticipatory signals preceding expected images. These preliminary results provide evidence that predictive processes are already functional in the maturing infant brain.

    external seminar