Apps M. A. & Tsakiris M. (2014) The free-energy self: A predictive coding account of self-recognition. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews 41: 85–97. https://cepa.info/5544
Apps M. A. & Tsakiris M.
The free-energy self: A predictive coding account of self-recognition.
Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews 41: 85–97.
Fulltext at https://cepa.info/5544
Recognising and representing one’s self as distinct from others is a fundamental component of self-awareness. However, current theories of self-recognition are not embedded within global theories of cortical function and therefore fail to provide a compelling explanation of how the self is processed. We present a theoretical account of the neural and computational basis of self-recognition that is embedded within the free-energy account of cortical function. In this account one’s body is processed in a Bayesian manner as the most likely to be “me”. Such probabilistic representation arises through the integration of information from hierarchically organised unimodal systems in higher-level multimodal areas. This information takes the form of bottom-up “surprise” signals from unimodal sensory systems that are explained away by top-down processes that minimise the level of surprise across the brain. We present evidence that this theoretical perspective may account for the findings of psychological and neuroimaging investigations into self-recognition and particularly evidence that representations of the self are malleable, rather than fixed as previous accounts of self-recognition might suggest.
Key words: self-recognition
, voice recognition
, face recognition
, body ownership
, free energy
, predictive coding
, prediction error
, rubber hand illusion
De Ridder D., Vanneste S. & Freeman W. (2014) The Bayesian brain: Phantom percepts resolve sensory uncertainty. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews 44: 4–15.
De Ridder D., Vanneste S. & Freeman W.
The Bayesian brain: Phantom percepts resolve sensory uncertainty.
Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews 44: 4–15.
Phantom perceptions arise almost universally in people who sustain sensory deafferentation, and in multiple sensory domains. The question arises ‘why’ the brain creates these false percepts in the absence of an external stimulus? The model proposed answers this question by stating that our brain works in a Bayesian way, and that its main function is to reduce environmental uncertainty, based on the freeenergy principle, which has been proposed as a universal principle governing adaptive brain function and structure. The Bayesian brain can be conceptualized as a probability machine that constantly makes predictions about the world and then updates them based on what it receives from the senses. The freeenergy principle states that the brain must minimize its Shannonian free-energy, i.e. must reduce by the process of perception its uncertainty (its prediction errors) about its environment. As completely predictable stimuli do not reduce uncertainty, they are not worthwhile of conscious processing. Unpredictable things on the other hand are not to be ignored, because it is crucial to experience them to update our understanding of the environment. Deafferentation leads to topographically restricted prediction errors based on temporal or spatial incongruity. This leads to an increase in topographically restricted uncertainty, which should be adaptively addressed by plastic repair mechanisms in the respective sensory cortex or via (para)hippocampal involvement. Neuroanatomically, filling in as a compensation for missing information also activates the anterior cingulate and insula, areas also involved in salience, stress and essential for stimulus detection. Associated with sensory cortex hyperactivity and decreased inhibition or map plasticity this will result in the perception of the false information created by the deafferented sensory areas, as a way to reduce increased topographically restricted uncertainty associated with the deafferentation. In conclusion, the Bayesian updating of knowledge via active sensory exploration of the environment, driven by the Shannonian free-energy principle, provides an explanation for the generation of phantom percepts, as a way to reduce uncertainty, to make sense of the world.
Quattrocki E. & Friston K. (2014) Autism, oxytocin and interoception. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews 47: 410–430. https://cepa.info/5571
Quattrocki E. & Friston K.
Autism, oxytocin and interoception.
Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews 47: 410–430.
Fulltext at https://cepa.info/5571
Autism is a pervasive developmental disorder characterized by profound social and verbal communication deficits, stereotypical motor behaviors, restricted interests, and cognitive abnormalities. Autism affects approximately 1% of children in developing countries. Given this prevalence, identifying risk factors and therapeutic interventions are pressing objectives – objectives that rest on neurobiologically grounded and psychologically informed theories about the underlying pathophysiology. In this article, we review the evidence that autism could result from a dysfunctional oxytocin system early in life. As a mediator of successful procreation, not only in the reproductive system, but also in the brain, oxytocin plays a crucial role in sculpting socio-sexual behavior. Formulated within a (Bayesian) predictive coding framework, we propose that oxytocin encodes the saliency or precision of interoceptive signals and enables the neuronal plasticity necessary for acquiring a generative model of the emotional and social ‘self.’ An aberrant oxytocin system in infancy could therefore help explain the marked deficits in language and social communication – as well as the sensory, autonomic, motor, behavioral, and cognitive abnormalities – seen in autism.