Attenuation of self-generated tactile sensations is predictive, not postdictive.


When one finger touches the other, the resulting tactile sensation is perceived as weaker than the same stimulus externally imposed. This attenuation of sensation could result from a predictive process that subtracts the expected sensory consequences of the action, or from a postdictive process that alters the perception of sensations that are judged after the event to be self-generated. In this study we observe attenuation even when the fingers unexpectedly fail to make contact, supporting a predictive process. This predictive attenuation of self-generated sensation may have evolved to enhance the perception of sensations with an external cause.