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Brain implements imperfect equation to understand truths about surroundings

ANI | April 21, 2019 03:50 PM
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Washington D.C. [USA] Apr 21 (ANI): A recent study claims that the brain implements imperfect mathematics principles which are used to determine truths about the surrounding environment.

The study was published in the Journal of PLOS Computational Biology.

To prove it, researchers Van den Berg and Stengard conducted an experiment with 30 volunteers who gave perception tests.

These tests involved identifying whether ellipse shapes appearing on a screen were tilted clockwise or counterclockwise from vertical.

Different tests incorporated sensory uncertainty in different ways, such as varying degrees of elongation of the ellipse shape, distractions in the form of nearby ellipses, and short display time of the ellipse on the screen.

The researchers then analyzed their results against a series of different mathematical models.

"Our results suggest that human perception is blueprinted on optimal strategies, even though the brain's execution of these strategies seems to be imperfect. This novel concept provides a theoretical middle ground between the seemingly opposing literatures of optimal models and heuristic models," Van den Berg says.

Additional research is needed to pinpoint what causes the apparent imperfections in the decision-making process during the ellipse perception tests. Future research could also test whether the imperfect Bayesian model can account for human behavior in other kinds of perception tests, and in higher-level cognitive decision-making tasks.

Previous research has suggested that human perception is "Bayesian," meaning that the brain accounts for the uncertainty of sensory observations in a mathematically optimal way. (ANI)

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