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Auditory processing: Are expectations more important than sound?

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Short answer: Yes.

Through the use of computational neuroscience models, Dr Balaguer-Ballester and his team intend to map the way that the brain processes sound. “Almost 80% of connections between central and pre-cortical areas during sound processing seem to be top-down i.e. from the brain to the auditory peripheral system and not bottom-up, which is perhaps unexpected,” he explains. “As sound comes from an external stimulus, it would be fair to assume that most of our processing occurs from what we hear, but that is apparently not the case. What your brain expects to hear can be as important as the sound itself.”

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