Dr. Huan Luo: Feature-specific reactivations of past information shift current neural encoding thereby mediating serial bias behaviors


The regularities of the world render an intricate interplay between past and present. Even across independent trials, current-trial perception can be automatically shifted by preceding trials, namely the “serial bias.” Meanwhile, the neural implementation of the spontaneous shift of present by past that operates on multiple features remains unknown. In two auditory categorization experiments with human electrophysiological recordings, we demonstrate that serial bias arises from the co-occurrence of past-trial neural reactivation and the neural encoding of current-trial features. The meeting of past and present shifts the neural representation of current-trial features and modulates serial bias behavior. Critically, past-trial features (i.e., pitch, category choice, motor response) keep their respective identities in memory and are only reactivated by the corresponding features in the current trial, giving rise to dissociated feature-specific serial biases. The feature-specific automatic reactivation might constitute a fundamental mechanism for adaptive past-to-present generalizations over multiple features.

Original link: https://journals.plos.org/plosbiology/article?id=10.1371/journal.pbio.3002056