Action sharpens sensory representations of expected outcomes

Yon, Daniel; Gilbert, Sam J.; de Lange, Floris P. and Press, Clare. 2018. Action sharpens sensory representations of expected outcomes. Nature Communications, 9, 4288. ISSN 2041-1723 [Article]

Yon_et_al-2018-Nature_Communications.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (1MB) | Preview

Abstract or Description

When we produce actions we predict their likely consequences. Dominant models of action control suggest that these predictions are used to ‘cancel’ perceptual processing of expected outcomes. However, normative Bayesian models of sensory cognition developed outside of action propose that rather than being cancelled, expected sensory signals are represented with greater fidelity (sharpened). Here, we distinguished between these models in an fMRI experiment where participants executed hand actions (index vs little finger movement) while observing movements of an avatar hand. Consistent with the sharpening account, visual representations of hand movements (index vs little finger) could be read out more accurately when they were congruent with action and these decoding enhancements were accompanied by suppressed activity in voxels tuned away from, not towards, the expected stimulus. Therefore, inconsistent with dominant action control models, these data show that sensorimotor prediction sharpens expected sensory representations, facilitating veridical perception of action outcomes.

Item Type:


Identification Number (DOI):

Departments, Centres and Research Units:



16 October 2018Published
23 September 2018Accepted

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

04 Nov 2019 09:09

Last Modified:

03 Aug 2021 15:05

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


View statistics for this item...

Edit Record Edit Record (login required)