Chapter

Adjusting the Volume (Noise, Signal, Attention)

Andy Clark

in Surfing Uncertainty

Published in print January 2016 | ISBN: 9780190217013
Published online October 2015 | e-ISBN: 9780190217044 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190217013.003.0003
Adjusting the Volume (Noise, Signal, Attention)

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Humans are expert at ordinary perception and are also able to engage in imaginative acts like ‘seeing’ faces in the clouds. Predictive processing offers a unifying account of perception and imagination at the core of which is an ability to contextually modify online processing so as better to extract signal from noise. Such modifications play a major role in the tuning (both long- and short-term) of the probabilistic prediction machinery that manages our contact with the world. This chapter explores the space and nature of such modifications, discusses their relations with familiar notions such as attention and expectation, and displays a possible mechanism (the context-variable ‘precision-weighting’ of select prediction error signals) that may be implicated in a wide range of signal-enhancement effects.

Keywords: prediction; attention; expectation; precision-weighting; signal; noise

Chapter.  11625 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Philosophy of Mind ; Philosophy

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