Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization -- Department for Nonlinear Dynamics and Network Dynamics Group
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Tuesday, 03.03.2015 17 c.t.

Predicting action: bottom-up and top-down

by Prof. Dr. Ricarda Schubotz
from Institute of Psychology, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität, Münster

Contact person: Florentin Wörgötter


Ludwig Prandtl lecture hall


We are living in an ever-changing environment and mostly have to adapt to more or less predictable variation. How can we do so? Our concept of what perception is and in which way it differs from action has changed fundamentally with the advent and proliferation of imaging methods applied on brain function. This innovation has revitalized the control-theoretically inspired notion of the brain as a predictive machine implementing internal models of sensory change. According to the most recent and radical reading, perceptual representation amounts to what is generated in a top-down feedback fashion, whereas sensory feedforward streams provide nothing but prediction errors. The mismatch between both is information in the proper sense. Currently, however, sophisticated concepts on predictive perception run ahead of our understanding of how the brain exploits environmental cues to feed predictions and how dynamic prediction is organized in time. A series of experiments is reported that hopes to contribute to three issues in this area: (a) the core-network of sensorimotor prediction, (b) the exploitation of environmental cues that drive predictions, and (c) the adjustments of predictions based on probability structures. Findings point to a complex but generic set of networks underlying predictions in the seconds range and beyond.

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