Extensive representation of sensory deviance in the responses to auditory gaps in unanesthetized rats

Bshara Awwad, Maciej M. Jankowski, Ana Polterovich, Sapir Bashari, Israel Nelken*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Unexpected changes in incoming sensory streams are associated with large errors in predicting the deviant stimulus relative to a memory trace of past stimuli. Mismatch negativity (MMN) in human studies and the release from stimulus-specific adaptation (SSA) in animal models correlate with prediction errors and deviance detection.1 In human studies, violation of expectations elicited by an unexpected stimulus omission resulted in an omission MMN.2,3,4,5 These responses are evoked after the expected occurrence time of the omitted stimulus, implying that they reflect the violation of a temporal expectancy.6 Because they are often time locked to the end of the omitted stimulus,4,6,7 they resemble off responses. Indeed, suppression of cortical activity after the termination of the gap disrupts gap detection, suggesting an essential role for offset responses.8 Here, we demonstrate that brief gaps in short noise bursts in the auditory cortex of unanesthetized rats frequently evoke offset responses. Importantly, we show that omission responses are elicited when these gaps are expected but are omitted. These omission responses, together with the release from SSA of both onset and offset responses to rare gaps, form a rich and varied representation of prediction-related signals in the auditory cortex of unanesthetized rats, extending substantially and refining the representations described previously in anesthetized rats.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)3024-3030.e3
JournalCurrent Biology
Issue number14
StatePublished - 24 Jul 2023

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© 2023 Elsevier Inc.


  • auditory cortex
  • awake rat
  • gap detection
  • offset responses
  • omission responses
  • stimulus-specific adaptation


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