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Generative models for sequential dynamics in active inference

Parr, T; Friston, K; Pezzulo, G; (2023) Generative models for sequential dynamics in active inference. Cognitive Neurodynamics 10.1007/s11571-023-09963-x. Green open access

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Abstract

A central theme of theoretical neurobiology is that most of our cognitive operations require processing of discrete sequences of items. This processing in turn emerges from continuous neuronal dynamics. Notable examples are sequences of words during linguistic communication or sequences of locations during navigation. In this perspective, we address the problem of sequential brain processing from the perspective of active inference, which inherits from a Helmholtzian view of the predictive (Bayesian) brain. Underneath the active inference lies a generative model; namely, a probabilistic description of how (observable) consequences are generated by (unobservable) causes. We show that one can account for many aspects of sequential brain processing by assuming the brain entails a generative model of the sensed world that comprises central pattern generators, narratives, or well-defined sequences. We provide examples in the domains of motor control (e.g., handwriting), perception (e.g., birdsong recognition) through to planning and understanding (e.g., language). The solutions to these problems include the use of sequences of attracting points to direct complex movements—and the move from continuous representations of auditory speech signals to the discrete words that generate those signals.

Type: Article
Title: Generative models for sequential dynamics in active inference
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1007/s11571-023-09963-x
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11571-023-09963-x
Language: English
Additional information: 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 licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence 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 licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
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 > 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/10169730
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