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Brain Cogn. 2017 Mar;112:69-77. doi: 10.1016/j.bandc.2016.05.002. Epub 2016 May 21.

A social Bayesian brain: How social knowledge can shape visual perception.

Author information

1
Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science, University of Sussex, Brighton BN1 9QJ, United Kingdom; University of Amsterdam, Brain & Cognition, The Netherlands. Electronic address: m.otten@uva.nl.
2
Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science, University of Sussex, Brighton BN1 9QJ, United Kingdom.
3
Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science, University of Sussex, Brighton BN1 9QJ, United Kingdom; University of Amsterdam, Brain & Cognition, The Netherlands.

Abstract

A growing body of research suggests that social contextual factors such as desires and goals, affective states and stereotypes can shape early perceptual processes. We suggest that a generative Bayesian approach towards perception provides a powerful theoretical framework to accommodate how such high-level social factors can influence low-level perceptual processes in their earliest stages. We review experimental findings that show how social factors shape the perception and evaluation of people, behaviour, and socially relevant objects or information. Subsequently, we summarize the generative view of perception within the 'Bayesian brain', and show how such a framework can account for the pervasive effects of top-down social knowledge on social cognition. Finally, we sketch the theoretical and experimental implications of social predictive perception, indicating new directions for research on the effects and neurocognitive underpinnings of social cognition.

KEYWORDS:

Bayesian brain; Cognition; Expectations; Perception; Predictive coding; Social biases; Social cognition; Stereotypes

PMID:
27221986
DOI:
10.1016/j.bandc.2016.05.002
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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