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Working memory, attention and salience in active inference

Parr, T; Friston, KJ; (2017) Working memory, attention and salience in active inference. Scientific Reports , 7 , Article 14678. 10.1038/s41598-017-15249-0. Green open access

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Abstract

The psychological concepts of working memory and attention are widely used in the cognitive and neuroscientific literatures. Perhaps because of the interdisciplinary appeal of these concepts, the same terms are often used to mean very different things. Drawing on recent advances in theoretical neurobiology, this paper tries to highlight the correspondence between these established psychological constructs and the formal processes implicit in mathematical descriptions of brain function. Here, we consider attention and salience from the perspective offered by active inference. Using variational principles and simulations, we use active inference to demonstrate how attention and salience can be disambiguated in terms of message passing between populations of neurons in cortical and subcortical structures. In brief, we suggest that salience is something that is afforded to actions that realise epistemic affordance, while attention per se is afforded to precise sensory evidence - or beliefs about the causes of sensations.

Type: Article
Title: Working memory, attention and salience in active inference
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-15249-0
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-15249-0
Language: English
Additional information: Open Access: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
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: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10038826
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