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Introducing a Bayesian model of selective attention based on active inference

Mirza, MB; Adams, RA; Friston, K; Parr, T; (2019) Introducing a Bayesian model of selective attention based on active inference. Scientific Reports , 9 (1) , Article 13915. 10.1038/s41598-019-50138-8. Green open access

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Abstract

Information gathering comprises actions whose (sensory) consequences resolve uncertainty (i.e., are salient). In other words, actions that solicit salient information cause the greatest shift in beliefs (i.e., information gain) about the causes of our sensations. However, not all information is relevant to the task at hand: this is especially the case in complex, naturalistic scenes. This paper introduces a formal model of selective attention based on active inference and contextual epistemic foraging. We consider a visual search task with a special emphasis on goal-directed and task-relevant exploration. In this scheme, attention modulates the expected fidelity (precision) of the mapping between observations and hidden states in a state-dependent or context-sensitive manner. This ensures task-irrelevant observations have little expected information gain, and so the agent - driven to reduce expected surprise (i.e., uncertainty) - does not actively seek them out. Instead, it selectively samples task-relevant observations, which inform (task-relevant) hidden states. We further show, through simulations, that the atypical exploratory behaviours in conditions such as autism and anxiety may be due to a failure to appropriately modulate sensory precision in a context-specific way.

Type: Article
Title: Introducing a Bayesian model of selective attention based on active inference
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1038/s41598-019-50138-8
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-50138-8
Language: English
Additional information: © The Author(s) 2019. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Keywords: Computational neuroscience, Information theory and computation
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
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Computer Science
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10082894
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