Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience
Neural responses to an attended event are typically enhanced relative to those from an unattended one (attention enhancement). Conversely, neural responses to a predicted event are typically reduced relative to those from an unpredicted one (prediction suppression). What remains to be established is what happens with attended and predicted events. To examine the interaction between attention and prediction, we combined two robust paradigms developed for studying attention and prediction effects on ERPs into an orthogonal design. Participants were presented with sounds in attended or unattended intervals with onsets that were either predicted by a moving visual cue or unpredicted (no cue was provided). We demonstrated an N1 enhancement effect for attended sounds and an N1 suppression effect for predicted sounds; furthermore, an interaction between these effects was found that emerged early in the N1 (50–95 msec), indicating that attention enhancement only occurred when the sound was unpredicted. This pattern of results can be explained by the precision of the predictive cue that reduces the need for attention selection in the attended and predicted condition.