Characteristic Alpha Reflects Predictive Anticipatory Activity (PAA) in an Auditory-Visual Task
Several lines of evidence suggest that humans can predict events that seem to be unpredictable through ordinary sensory means. After reviewing the literature in this controversial field, I present an exploratory EEG study that addresses this hypothesis. I used a pattern classification algorithm drawing on EEG data prior to stimulus presentation to successfully predict upcoming motor responses that were constrained by the upcoming stimulus. Both the phase of peak alpha activity and overall amplitude at ~550 ms prior to the presentation of the stimulus were useful in predicting the upcoming motor response. Although these results support the idea that brain activity may reflect precognitive processes in certain situations, due to the exploratory nature of this study, additional pre-registered confirmatory experiments are required before the results can be considered solid. Implications for creating a closed-loop predictive system based on human physiology are discussed.
KeywordsPredictive anticipatory activity Presentiment Precognition Prospection EEG Alpha Auditory-visual
Bial Foundation Bursary 141/10 supported this work. Also, thank you to Kyle Matthewson for creating and modifying the Matlab script to calculate alpha phase, and Satoru Suzuki, Marcia Grabowecky, and Ken Paller for office space, lab space, and financial support related to the completion of this project.
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