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A Duet for one.

Friston, K; Frith, C; (2015) A Duet for one. Consciousness and Cognition , 36 pp. 390-405. 10.1016/j.concog.2014.12.003. Green open access

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Abstract

This paper considers communication in terms of inference about the behaviour of others (and our own behaviour). It is based on the premise that our sensations are largely generated by other agents like ourselves. This means, we are trying to infer how our sensations are caused by others, while they are trying to infer our behaviour: for example, in the dialogue between two speakers. We suggest that the infinite regress induced by modelling another agent - who is modelling you - can be finessed if you both possess the same model. In other words, the sensations caused by others and oneself are generated by the same process. This leads to a view of communication based upon a narrative that is shared by agents who are exchanging sensory signals. Crucially, this narrative transcends agency - and simply involves intermittently attending to and attenuating sensory input. Attending to sensations enables the shared narrative to predict the sensations generated by another (i.e. to listen), while attenuating sensory input enables one to articulate the narrative (i.e. to speak). This produces a reciprocal exchange of sensory signals that, formally, induces a generalised synchrony between internal (neuronal) brain states generating predictions in both agents. We develop the arguments behind this perspective, using an active (Bayesian) inference framework and offer some simulations (of birdsong) as proof of principle.

Type: Article
Title: A Duet for one.
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.concog.2014.12.003
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.concog.2014.12.003
Language: English
Additional information: © 2014 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/).
Keywords: Active inference, Attention, Bayesian, Communication, Generalised synchrony, Predictive coding, Sensory attenuation, Theory of mind
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/1460459
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