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Active inference, selective attention, and the cocktail party problem

Holmes, E; Parr, T; Griffiths, TD; Friston, KJ; (2021) Active inference, selective attention, and the cocktail party problem. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews , 131 pp. 1288-1304. 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2021.09.038. Green open access

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Abstract

In this paper, we introduce a new generative model for an active inference account of preparatory and selective attention, in the context of a classic ‘cocktail party’ paradigm. In this setup, pairs of words are presented simultaneously to the left and right ears and an instructive spatial cue directs attention to the left or right. We use this generative model to test competing hypotheses about the way that human listeners direct preparatory and selective attention. We show that assigning low precision to words at attended—relative to unattended—locations can explain why a listener reports words from a competing sentence. Under this model, temporal changes in sensory precision were not needed to account for faster reaction times with longer cue-target intervals, but were necessary to explain ramping effects on event-related potentials (ERPs)—resembling the contingent negative variation (CNV)—during the preparatory interval. These simulations reveal that different processes are likely to underlie the improvement in reaction times and the ramping of ERPs that are associated with spatial cueing.

Type: Article
Title: Active inference, selective attention, and the cocktail party problem
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2021.09.038
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neubiorev.2021.09.038
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.
Keywords: Selective attention; Preparatory attention; Spatial attention; Temporal attention; Cocktail party listening; Active inference
UCL classification: UCL
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 > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Speech, Hearing and Phonetic 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/10137474
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