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Brains use predictive models to facilitate the processing of expected stimuli or planned actions. Under a predictive model, surprising (low probability) stimuli or actions necessitate the immediate reallocation of processing resources, but they can also signal the need to update the underlying predictive model to reflect changes in the environment. Surprise and updating are often correlated in experimental paradigms but are, in fact, distinct constructs that can be formally defined as the Shannon information (IS) and Kullback-Leibler divergence (DKL) associated with an observation. In a saccadic planning task, we observed that distinct behaviors and brain regions are associated with surprise/IS and updating/DKL. Although surprise/IS was associated with behavioral reprogramming as indexed by slower reaction times, as well as with activity in the posterior parietal cortex [human lateral intraparietal area (LIP)], the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) was specifically activated during updating of the predictive model (DKL). A second saccade-sensitive region in the inferior posterior parietal cortex (human 7a), which has connections to both LIP and ACC, was activated by surprise and modulated by updating. Pupillometry revealed a further dissociation between surprise and updating with an early positive effect of surprise and late negative effect of updating on pupil area. These results give a computational account of the roles of the ACC and two parietal saccade regions, LIP and 7a, by which their involvement in diverse tasks can be understood mechanistically. The dissociation of functional roles between regions within the reorienting/reprogramming network may also inform models of neurological phenomena, such as extinction and Balint syndrome, and neglect.

Original publication




Journal article


Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A

Publication Date





E3660 - E3669


Bayes, attention, eye movement, learning, prediction, Adult, Bayes Theorem, Brain Mapping, Culture, Female, Gyrus Cinguli, Humans, Knowledge, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Male, Models, Neurological, Parietal Lobe, Pupil, Reaction Time, Saccades