Sensory uncertainty decoded from visual cortex predicts behavior

Nat Neurosci. 2015 Dec;18(12):1728-30. doi: 10.1038/nn.4150. Epub 2015 Oct 26.


Bayesian theories of neural coding propose that sensory uncertainty is represented by a probability distribution encoded in neural population activity, but direct neural evidence supporting this hypothesis is currently lacking. Using fMRI in combination with a generative model-based analysis, we found that probability distributions reflecting sensory uncertainty could reliably be estimated from human visual cortex and, moreover, that observers appeared to use knowledge of this uncertainty in their perceptual decisions.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Forecasting
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Male
  • Orientation / physiology*
  • Photic Stimulation / methods*
  • Uncertainty*
  • Visual Cortex / metabolism*
  • Visual Perception / physiology*
  • Young Adult