Longitudinal Evidence for Attenuated Local-Global Deviance Detection as a Precursor of Working Memory Decline

Yi Fang Hsu*, Chia An Tu, Tristan A. Bekinschtein, Jarmo A. Hämäläinen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


From the perspective of predictive coding, normal aging is accompanied by decreased weighting of sensory inputs and increased reliance on predictions, resulting in the attenuation of prediction errors in older age. Recent electroence-phalography (EEG) research further revealed that the age-related shift from sensorium to predictions is hierarchy-selective, as older brains show little reduction in lower-level but significant suppression in higher-level prediction errors. Moreover, the disrupted propagation of prediction errors from the lower-level to the higher-level seems to be linked to deficient maintenance of information in working memory. However, it is unclear whether the hierarchical predictive processing continues to decline with advancing age as working memory. Here, we longitudinally followed a sample of 78 participants from three age groups (including seniors, adults, and adolescents) over three years’ time. Seniors exhibited largely preserved local processing [consisting of comparable mismatch negativity (MMN), delayed P3a, and comparable reorienting negativity (RON)] but significantly compromised global processing (consisting of suppressed frontocentral negativity and suppressed P3b) in the auditory local-global paradigm. These electrophysiological responses did not change with the passing of time, unlike working memory which deteriorated with advancing age. Correlation analysis further showed that these electrophysiological responses signaling prediction errors are indicative of concurrent working memory. Moreover, there was a correlation between earlier predictive processing and later working memory but not between earlier working memory and later predictive processing. The temporal asymmetry suggested that the hierarchy-selective attenuation of prediction errors is likely a precursor of working memory decline.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberENEURO.0156-23.2023
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2023 Aug


  • aging
  • auditory perception
  • electroencephalography (EEG)
  • prediction errors
  • predictive coding

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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