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    Stubborn predictions in primary visual cortex

    Yon, Daniel and Thomas, E. and Gilbert, S. and de Lange, F. and Kok, P. and Press, Clare (2023) Stubborn predictions in primary visual cortex. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 35 (7), pp. 1133-1143. ISSN 0898-929X.

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    Perceivers can use past experiences to make sense of ambiguous sensory signals. However, this may be inappropriate when the world changes and past experiences no longer predict what the future holds. Optimal learning models propose that observers decide whether to stick with or update their predictions by tracking the uncertainty or ‘precision’ of their expectations. But contrasting theories of prediction have argued that we are prone to misestimate uncertainty – leading to stubborn predictions that are difficult to dislodge. To compare these possibilities, we had participants learn novel perceptual predictions before using fMRI to record visual brain activity when predictive contingencies were disrupted - meaning that previously ‘expected’ events become objectively improbable. Multivariate pattern analyses revealed that expected events continued to be decoded with greater fidelity from primary visual cortex, despite marked changes in the statistical structure of the environment which rendered these expectations no longer valid. These results suggest that our perceptual systems do indeed form stubborn predictions even from short periods of learning – and more generally suggest that top-down expectations have the potential to help or hinder perceptual inference in bounded minds like ours.


    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): expectation, fMRI, learning, perception, prediction, predictive coding, stubborn uncertainty
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Science > School of Psychological Sciences
    Depositing User: Daniel Yon
    Date Deposited: 05 Apr 2023 14:22
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 18:20


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