Learning naturalistic temporal structure in the posterior medial network
The posterior medial network is at the apex of a temporal integration hierarchy in the brain, integrating information over many seconds of viewing intact, but not scrambled, movies. This has been interpreted as an effect of temporal structure. Such structure in movies depends on preexisting event schemas, but temporal structure can also arise de novo from learning. Here, we examined the relative role of schema-consistent temporal structure and arbitrary but consistent temporal structure on the human posterior medial network. We tested whether, with repeated viewing, the network becomes engaged by scrambled movies with temporal structure. Replicating prior studies, activity in posterior medial regions was immediately locked to stimulus structure upon exposure to intact, but not scrambled, movies. However, for temporally structured scrambled movies, functional coupling within the network increased across stimulus repetitions, rising to the level of intact movies. Thus, temporal structure is a key determinant of network dynamics and function in the posterior medial network.