Perceptual Unity in the Actively Hypothesis-Testing Brain
Jakob Hohwy (Monash University)

May 25, 2012, 3:15pm - 4:45pm
Philosophy & Bioethics Departments, Monash University

Philosophy Department Library (Room 916, Bldg. 11, Menzies West)
55 Wellington Rd
Clayton 3800


University of Alabama, Birmingham

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Abstract: Conscious perception is experienced as unified but this perceptual unity is difficult to explain: in what sense are percepts unified, and how and why is our perception unitary? The prediction error minimization framework can be brought to bear on the problem of unity. In this framework, the brain’s main task is to minimize the error between its internal model of the world and its sensory input. This can happen in perceptual inference where error is minimized by changing the model of the world to fit the sensory input; or in action, where prediction error is minimized when the perceiver acts so as to make the sensory input fit the model. Perceptual unity can be explained by situating conscious perception with prediction error minimization for action. This idea can be used to cast the architecture and mechanisms associated with global neuronal workspace theory in a different light.

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