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Departmental Colloquium: Janneke Jehee, Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behavior: Neural decisions under perceptual uncertainty

The CEU Campus
Wednesday, October 12, 2016, 5:00 pm – 6:30 pm

Neural decisions under perceptual uncertainty
Janneke Jehee

Virtually anything we sense, think and do is uncertain. For instance, when driving
a car, you often need to determine how close you are to the car in front of you. It
is near impossible to estimate this distance with absolute certainty – but it is
possible to guess and even to estimate the uncertainty associated with that
guess. Accordingly, we reduce speed when driving at night, because we realize
perceived distance is more uncertain in the dark than on a sunny, clear day. How
do we infer that visual information is less reliable at night? How does the brain
represent knowledge of sensory uncertainty? In this talk, I will present recent
neuroimaging data combined with novel analysis tools to address these
questions. Our results indicate that perceptual uncertainty can reliably be
estimated from the human visual cortex on a trial-by-trial basis, and moreover
that observers appear to take this uncertainty into account when making
perceptual decisions.