Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from BMC Neuroscience and BioMed Central.

Open Access Research article

Effect of temporal predictability on the neural processing of self-triggered auditory stimulation during vocalization

Zhaocong Chen, Xi Chen, Peng Liu, Dongfeng Huang* and Hanjun Liu*

Author Affiliations

Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, The First Affiliated Hospital, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, 510080, People's Republic of China

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Neuroscience 2012, 13:55  doi:10.1186/1471-2202-13-55

Published: 30 May 2012



Sensory consequences of our own actions are perceived differently from the sensory stimuli that are generated externally. The present event-related potential (ERP) study examined the neural responses to self-triggered stimulation relative to externally-triggered stimulation as a function of delays between the motor act and the stimulus onset. While sustaining a vowel phonation, subjects clicked a mouse and heard pitch-shift stimuli (PSS) in voice auditory feedback at delays of either 0 ms (predictable) or 500–1000 ms (unpredictable). The motor effect resulting from the mouse click was corrected in the data analyses. For the externally-triggered condition, PSS were delivered by a computer with a delay of 500–1000 ms after the vocal onset.


As compared to unpredictable externally-triggered PSS, P2 responses to predictable self-triggered PSS were significantly suppressed, whereas an enhancement effect for P2 responses was observed when the timing of self-triggered PSS was unpredictable.


These findings demonstrate the effect of the temporal predictability of stimulus delivery with respect to the motor act on the neural responses to self-triggered stimulation. Responses to self-triggered stimulation were suppressed or enhanced compared with the externally-triggered stimulation when the timing of stimulus delivery was predictable or unpredictable. Enhancement effect of unpredictable self-triggered stimulation in the present study supports the idea that sensory suppression of self-produced action may be primarily caused by an accurate prediction of stimulus timing, rather than a movement-related non-specific suppression.