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How the human brain combines the certainty of prior expectations and the clarity of sensory input during speech perception

Total Cost €


EC-Contrib. €






 EXPECTBRAIN project word cloud

Explore the words cloud of the EXPECTBRAIN project. It provides you a very rough idea of what is the project "EXPECTBRAIN" about.

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Project "EXPECTBRAIN" data sheet

The following table provides information about the project.


Organization address
address: Martinistrasse 52
postcode: 20251

contact info
title: n.a.
name: n.a.
surname: n.a.
function: n.a.
email: n.a.
telephone: n.a.
fax: n.a.

 Coordinator Country Germany [DE]
 Project website
 Total cost 171˙460 €
 EC max contribution 171˙460 € (100%)
 Programme 1. H2020-EU.1.3.2. (Nurturing excellence by means of cross-border and cross-sector mobility)
 Code Call H2020-MSCA-IF-2015
 Funding Scheme MSCA-IF-EF-ST
 Starting year 2017
 Duration (year-month-day) from 2017-01-01   to  2019-11-17


Take a look of project's partnership.

# participants  country  role  EC contrib. [€] 


 Project objective

A fundamental question in the study of human perception concerns how we combine new sensory information with prior knowledge. Different underlying neural mechanisms have been proposed for how perceptual priors are combined with sensory input depending on their respective certainty to generate a subjective experience. Predictive Coding models suggest that neuronal populations compare (bottom-up) input from the sensory organs against (top-down) predictions so that only the unexpected part of the input is processed. Alternative models (e.g., Sharpening) propose that perceptual representations of the expected sensory input are enhanced while unexpected sensory input is suppressed. The objective of this proposal is to close this controversial research gap by testing 1) how top-down and bottom-up influences on perception depend on their respective certainty, i.e., the confidence in prior predictions and the clarity of sensory evidence, and 2) whether and how this mechanism is related to inter-individual differences during perception. To achieve this I will test multiple neuroimaging techniques (fMRI and EEG) against computational simulations of the two models. I will use state-of-the-art brain-activity pattern analysis to decode brain responses to individual words during perception of degraded speech. The innovative approach of combined pattern-information analysis techniques will allow unprecedented access to decode how prior information changes the representation of sensory information. The results of this project will have important implications for several clinical areas, e.g., the treatment of hearing impairments and neuropsychiatric conditions that are accompanied by aberrant perceptual experiences such as autism or schizophrenia. By strengthening my portfolio of research skills, the proposed project represents the perfect lead-in phase to put me in the position to start my independent research group at the host organisation and ultimately obtain a permanent post.


year authors and title journal last update
List of publications.
2018 Begoña Díaz, Helen Blank, Katharina von Kriegstein
Task-dependent modulation of the visual sensory thalamus assists visual-speech recognition
published pages: 721-734, ISSN: 1053-8119, DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2018.05.032
NeuroImage 178 2020-04-08
2019 Helen Blank, Christian Büchel
Representation of face-prior precision
published pages: , ISSN: , DOI: 10.32470/ccn.2019.1058-0
2019 Conference on Cognitive Computational Neuroscience 2020-04-08
2019 Nadja Tschentscher, Anja Ruisinger, Helen Blank, Begoña Díaz, Katharina von Kriegstein
Reduced structural connectivity between left auditory thalamus and the motion-sensitive planum temporale in developmental dyslexia
published pages: 1435-18, ISSN: 0270-6474, DOI: 10.1523/jneurosci.1435-18.2018
The Journal of Neuroscience 2020-04-08
2018 Helen Blank, Marlene Spangenberg, Matthew H. Davis
Neural Prediction Errors Distinguish Perception and Misperception of Speech
published pages: 6076-6089, ISSN: 0270-6474, DOI: 10.1523/jneurosci.3258-17.2018
The Journal of Neuroscience 38/27 2020-04-08

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