The Proactive Brain: Predictions in Visual Cognition

17 December 2013
Begin time: 
New CITEC building, room 2.015


It is proposed that the human brain is proactive in that it continuously generates predictions that approximate the relevant future. Building on previous work, this proposal posits that rudimentary information is extracted rapidly from the input to derive analogies linking that input with representations in memory. The linked stored representations then activate the associations that are relevant in the specific context, which provides focused predictions. These predictions facilitate perception and cognition by pre-sensitizing relevant representations. In the talk i will concentrate on top-down predictions particularly in visual object recognition and in the application of contextual knowledge in the human brain. This cognitive neuroscience framework provides a new hypothesis with which to consider the purpose of memory, and can help explain a variety of phenomena, ranging from recognition to first impressions, and from the brain’s ‘default mode’ to a host of mental disorders.