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 Holding something in working memory is thought to automatically facilitate feature processing even if doing so is detrimental to the current task. Despite this paradox it is often assumed that distractor suppression is controlled via similar top-down mechanisms of attention that prepare brain areas for target enhancement. We describe the results of a series of studies exploring distractor suppression and challenge this popular notion. Further we explore whether predictions of environmental stability are embedded in higher order expectations We draw on behavioural, EEG and MEG evidence to show that selective distractor suppression operates via an alternative mechanism, such as expectation suppression within a predictive coding framework.