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Cluster C: Perceptual inference mechanisms

To study perceptual inference mechanisms we start from the functional level and ask how inferences concerning particular features such as colour, shape or motion are computed by neural populations. How these properties are encoded in the activity of single cells has been extensively studied in multiple brain areas, but it is still unclear how they are extracted and what computations among populations of neurons are necessary to do this. The central research questions are:

  • Can we identify neural mechanisms for specific types of prior knowledge and its combination with the sensory input?
  • How are different perceptual interpretations of an image represented and selected by the brain?
  • By what mechanisms can population activity resolve ambiguities to arrive at unique percepts and actions?
  • How are the responses of lower-level cells pooled to make higher-level inferences and predictions about the world?
Sponsored by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research