Dynamic prediction during perception of everyday events

Michelle L. Eisenberg, Jeffrey M. Zacks, Shaney Flores

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


The ability to predict what is going to happen in the near future is integral for daily functioning. Previous research suggests that predictability varies over time, with increases in prediction error at those moments that people perceive as boundaries between meaningful events. These moments also tend to be points of rapid change in the environment. Eye tracking provides a method for noninterruptive measurement of prediction as participants watch a movie of an actor performing a series of actions. In two studies, we used eye tracking to study the time course of prediction around event boundaries. In both studies, viewers looked at objects that were about to be touched by the actor shortly before the objects were contacted, demonstrating predictive looking. However, this behavior was modulated by event boundaries: looks to to-be-contacted objects near event boundaries were less likely to be early and more likely to be late compared to looks to objects contacted within events. This result is consistent with theories proposing that event segmentation results from transient increases in prediction error.

Original languageEnglish
Article number53
JournalCognitive Research: Principles and Implications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018


  • Event cognition
  • Eye tracking
  • Prediction


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