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The Predictive Mind$
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Jakob Hohwy

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199682737

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199682737.001.0001

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Perception as causal inference

Perception as causal inference

(p.12) (p.13) 1 Perception as causal inference
The Predictive Mind

Jakob Hohwy

Oxford University Press

Our senses are bombarded with input from things in the world. On the basis of that input, we perceive what is out there. The problem that is the focus here is how the brain accomplishes this feat of perception. This chapter pursues the idea that the brain must use inference to perceive — the brain is a Bayesian inference mechanism. The first aim is to show why we should agree with this and what the key ingredients of such perceptual inference are. The second aim is to show how inference could underpin the phenomenology of perception. The chapter describes how perceptual inference is embedded in a perceptual hierarchy of increasing time scales, maintained in the brain. This gives reason to believe that perceptual inference can accommodate the richness of perceptual phenomenology, as perception encompasses both variant and invariant representation; much of this is illustrated with examples from perceptual science, in particular binocular rivalry. The chapter ends with a brief primer on Bayes’ rule.

Keywords:   problem of perception, Bayesian perceptual inference, hierarchical perceptual inference, binocular rivalry, Bayes’ rule

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