DSH Monthly Roundtable Talks (April)

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Date: 29th April 2021 (Thursday)

Time: 11:00am - 12:00pm

Speaker: Dr Daniel Feuerriegel

Title: Expectation, Adaptation and Perceptual Decision-Making


We are constantly using our prior knowledge to form expectations about what we will see in the immediate future. It is widely believed that these expectations shape how incoming sensory input is represented in the visual system, leading to changes in the speed and accuracy of our perceptual decisions. In my talk I will focus on one effect, termed expectation suppression, that has been highly influential in shaping contemporary theories of predictive processing and decision-making. I will first highlight important confounding factors in experiments that tested for this effect, such as neuronal adaptation. I will also show that, once the effects of confounding factors are taking into consideration, there is scant evidence for expectation suppression in the visual system. I will then discuss how apparent this lack of evidence can inform contemporary models of predictive processing and perceptual decision-making. To conclude, I will propose an alternative framework for understanding expectation effects on performance in speeded judgment tasks.


Dr Daniel Feuerriegel is a cognitive neuroscientist and Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences and head of the Prediction and Decision-Making Lab. His research program is focused on how our decisions are influenced by our history of prior choices and experiences. He uses a variety of neuroimaging techniques in combination with computational modelling and machine learning approaches to investigate how decisions are formed in the brain. He is also interested in how our expectations about future events are implemented within the neural circuitry of the visual system, and how we can use this knowledge to identify strange or salient events that occur in our environment. Daniel is also involved in applied research focusing on how modifiable risk factors, ranging from malnutrition in infants to cardiovascular health in old age, influence our brain function and decision making.