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Uncertainty, epistemics and active inference

Parr, T; Friston, KJ; (2017) Uncertainty, epistemics and active inference. Journal of the Royal Society Interface , 14 (136) 10.1098/rsif.2017.0376. Green open access

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Abstract

Biological systems—like ourselves—are constantly faced with uncertainty. Despite noisy sensory data, and volatile environments, creatures appear to actively maintain their integrity. To account for this remarkable ability to make optimal decisions in the face of a capricious world, we propose a generative model that represents the beliefs an agent might possess about their own uncertainty. By simulating a noisy and volatile environment, we demonstrate how uncertainty influences optimal epistemic (visual) foraging. In our simulations, saccades were deployed less frequently to regions with a lower sensory precision, while a greater volatility led to a shorter inhibition of return. These simulations illustrate a principled explanation for some cardinal aspects of visual foraging—and allow us to propose a correspondence between the representation of uncertainty and ascending neuromodulatory systems, complementing that suggested by Yu & Dayan

Type: Article
Title: Uncertainty, epistemics and active inference
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1098/rsif.2017.0376
Publisher version: http://doi.org/10.1098/rsif.2017.0376
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2017 The Authors. Published by the Royal Society under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/, which permits unrestricted use, provided the original author and source are credited.
Keywords: uncertainty, Bayesian, active inference, neuromodulation, acetylcholine, noradrenaline
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology > Imaging Neuroscience
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10040580
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