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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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Binding is inference

Binding is inference

(p.100) (p.101) 5 Binding is inference
The Predictive Mind

Jakob Hohwy

Oxford University Press

The project in this chapter is to build a reasonably detailed response to the famous binding problem entirely from the perspective of the prediction error minimization scheme. The binding problem concerns the ability of the brain to bind together sensory attributes in spite of processing them in different regions throughout the brain. It turns out that prediction error minimization dissolves this problem by virtue of what was called in Chapter 2 the profound reversal of the way we normally conceptualize the role of sensory input. Instead of binding disparate sensory attributes, the brain assumes bound attributes on the basis of sparse input and prior learning, and queries the sensory input on the basis of this assumption—the disparate parts of sensory input are feedback to the brain’s hypothesis. This means binding is treated as just more causal inference, albeit causal inference concerning properties at little causal depth. This is discussed through use of example of multimodal sensory integration.

Keywords:   binding problem, causal inference, common cause, causal hierarchy, multimodal sensory integration, ventriloquist illusion, rubber hand illusion, illusory conjunction

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