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Sequential inference as a mode of cognition and its correlates in fronto-parietal and hippocampal brain regions

FitzGerald, THB; Hämmerer, D; Friston, KJ; Li, S-C; Dolan, RJ; (2017) Sequential inference as a mode of cognition and its correlates in fronto-parietal and hippocampal brain regions. PLoS Computational Biology , 13 (5) , Article e1005418. 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1005418. Green open access

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Abstract

Normative models of human cognition often appeal to Bayesian filtering, which provides optimal online estimates of unknown or hidden states of the world, based on previous observations. However, in many cases it is necessary to optimise beliefs about sequences of states rather than just the current state. Importantly, Bayesian filtering and sequential inference strategies make different predictions about beliefs and subsequent choices, rendering them behaviourally dissociable. Taking data from a probabilistic reversal task we show that subjects' choices provide strong evidence that they are representing short sequences of states. Between-subject measures of this implicit sequential inference strategy had a neurobiological underpinning and correlated with grey matter density in prefrontal and parietal cortex, as well as the hippocampus. Our findings provide, to our knowledge, the first evidence for sequential inference in human cognition, and by exploiting between-subject variation in this measure we provide pointers to its neuronal substrates.

Type: Article
Title: Sequential inference as a mode of cognition and its correlates in fronto-parietal and hippocampal brain regions
Location: United States
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1005418
Publisher version: http://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pcbi.1005418
Language: English
Additional information: © 2017 FitzGerald et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
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/1556092
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