How does our brain make sense of the world? We perceive the world by rapidly transforming streams of meaningless sensory signals into meaningful tokens, such as hearing the word ‘brain’ or seeing an apple tree. How can our brain make sense of the vast, noisy and ambiguous stream of input so quickly, efficiently, and robustly? The key that may unlock this ability is prediction: The brain is constantly forming predictions of its input, which are compared with incoming information to update predictions, in a virtuous cycle.
The goal of the Predictive Brain Lab is to examine how the brain acquires and uses predictions, both in perception and cognition. We strive to understand this process at the computational, algorithmic and implementational level. Therefore, we use a multidisciplinary approach, focusing on behavioral and neural mechanisms of prediction, and utilizing a combination of psychophysics, non-invasive human neuroimaging (fMRI, EEG/MEG), and computational and neural network modeling approaches. We investigate the form and function of prediction in a wide range of contexts, e.g. visual and auditory perception, language, curiosity and information seeking.