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What silly postures tell us about the brain

  • Biology
  • Neuroscience


What silly postures tell us about the brain Samuel J Sober, Emory University Konrad P. Kording, Northwestern University Frontiers in Neuroscience Volume 6, Number 154 2012-10-11, Pages 1-2 Article | Final Publisher PDF doi:10.3389/fnins.2012.00154 Permanent URL: Permanent URL: Final published version: Accessed March 10, 2014 1:32 AM EDT how the brain “transforms” information across coordinate systems. It is generally understood that information degrades as it is transformed across coordinate systems. Another important fact about infor- mation integration is that the brain must make all of its decisions based on unreli- able and sometimes conflicting sensory data. Crucially, sensory uncertainty can be reduced by combining information from multiple sensors. Any combination needs to assign weights to different inputs. Should each sensor have the same importance or are some sensors more important than others? Based on studies showing that the brain often weights sensory inputs in a near- optimal fashion (Yuille and Kersten, 2006; Trommershauser et al., 2010), it is gener- ally understood that the brain is exquisitely sensitive to statistical issues that occur when combining information. That coordinate transforms are costly and sensory information is uncertain sets the stage for a remarkably interesting prob- lem. Tasks require precision in the relevant coordinate system. Imprecise sensory infor- mation arrives from multiple sources. How should the brain combine information from multiple sources to move successfully? One intuition is that information that requires less coordinate transformation should be trusted more than information that requires more transformation – it should get more weight. The current study by Blohm and Burns (2010) tests a crucial prediction of this intuition: if one sensor is made

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