Perceptual prediction: How do we render our experiences both veridical and informative?

Speaker: Prof Clare Press

18th March 2021

Abstract: It is widely assumed that we must use predictions to determine the nature of our perceptual experiences, but theories within the domain of action are at odds with those from other perceptual disciplines. Specifically, action theories propose that we cancel predicted events from perception to render our experiences informative - telling us what we did not already know. In contrast, theories outside of action - typically couched within Bayesian frameworks - demonstrate that we combine our predictions (prior) with the evidence (likelihood) to determine the experience (posterior). Such a process would render our experiences more veridical in the face of sensory noise. I will present several psychophysical and neuroimaging findings from our lab that ask whether action predictions really influence perceptual processing so differently. I will conclude by asking how we may, in principle, use predictions to generate experiences that are both veridical and informative.

Bio: Clare undertook her PhD at the UCL Psychology department with Cecilia Heyes and Patrick Haggard, before undertaking three fellowships. The first was again with Celia at UCL, the second with Martin Eimer at Birkbeck and the third at the Wellcome Centre for Human Neuroimaging, UCL, with James Kilner and Karl Friston. Her first faculty position was at the University of Reading, before moving to her current position at Birkbeck in 2012 where she runs the Action Lab. All questions relate to action, perception, and learning, and most commonly the links between those domains.

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