SIOC 209 The Predictive Mind

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The Predictive Mind Theory (~Predictive Coding or Predictive Processing) posits that the behaviors of the human brain can be broadly understood as arising from the generation and testing of predictions through a mechanism that effectively mimics a Bayesian probability calculation and the minimization of prediction error, or 'free energy.' In this course, we will introduce, explore and critique this theory as well as discuss applications and implications.

SIO 209 will begin with a summary of some aspects of critical analysis frameworks that can be used to investigate and interrogate the Predictive Mind Theory (TPMT), including tools from philosophy, complex systems science, statistics, cognitive science, psychology and physics. (Participants will be encouraged to contribute tools from their own fields/subfields of study). Then we will read and discuss some of the foundational and review articles and texts of TPMT, with a focus on theoretical and empirical strengths and weaknesses. A background guide will be provided for some of the articles, which can be challenging reads. A few applications of TPMT, including perceptual phenomena, longer scale phenomena such as attention and subjectivity, or both, will be selected and pursued, according to interests of the participants. The course will conclude with a discussion of the social implications of TPMT and a brainstorming session about what we could do, individually or collectively, with what we will have learned.

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