A nice surprise? Predictive processing and the active pursuit of novelty

Clark, Andy (2018) A nice surprise? Predictive processing and the active pursuit of novelty. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences, 17 (3). pp. 521-534. ISSN 1568-7759

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Abstract

Recent work in cognitive and computational neuroscience depicts human brains as devices that minimize prediction error signals: signals that encode the difference between actual and expected sensory stimulations. This raises a series of puzzles whose common theme concerns a potential misfit between this bedrock informationtheoretic vision and familiar facts about the attractions of the unexpected. We humans often seem to actively seek out surprising events, deliberately harvesting novel and exciting streams of sensory stimulation. Conversely, we often experience some wellexpected sensations as unpleasant and to-be-avoided. In this paper, I explore several core and variant forms of this puzzle, using them to display multiple interacting elements that together deliver a satisfying solution. That solution requires us to go beyond the discussion of simple information-theoretic imperatives (such as 'minimize long-term prediction error') and to recognize the essential role of species-specific prestructuring, epistemic foraging, and cultural practices in shaping the restless, curious, novelty-seeking human mind.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of History, Art History and Philosophy > Philosophy
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
Depositing User: Paige Thompson
Date Deposited: 25 Mar 2019 10:35
Last Modified: 01 Jul 2019 18:00
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/82320

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Project NameSussex Project NumberFunderFunder Ref
ERC Advanced Grant XSPECTUnsetERCDLV-692739