Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour
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Thesis defense Silvan Quax (Donders series 440)

25 June 2020

Promotor: Prof. dr. M. van Gerven, Co-promotor: Dr. S. Bosch

Mechanisms of active perception, a neural network approach

Our brain processes an immense amount of information, that is often very noisy and ambiguous. To achieve this in an efficient way, our brain has developed an array of mechanisms that influence how we perceive the world. It remains very difficult, however, to identify how neurons implement such mechanisms exactly, due to the limitations of current measuring techniques. Computer models can help us to identify such mechanisms. It is possible nowadays to build networks of neurons in computers that can reproduce behaviour similar to humans, for example, recognizing objects in our environment. Silvan Quax used such artificial networks to understand how the combined activity of many neurons can give rise to intelligent behaviour. He found, amongst other things, neural mechanisms that could explain how we can focus our attention on relevant information and how we can use prior knowledge to make better perceptual decisions.