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Biosystems. 2017 Dec;162:168-176. doi: 10.1016/j.biosystems.2017.04.006. Epub 2017 May 4.

Boredom begets creativity: A solution to the exploitation-exploration trade-off in predictive coding.

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The Hospital for Sick Children, Department of Neuroscience and Mental Health, University of Toronto, Bay St. 686, Toronto, Canada. Electronic address:
Koelliker Hospital, Department of Psychology, University of Turin, Via Verdi, 10, 10124 Turin, Italy.


Here we investigate whether systems that minimize prediction error e.g. predictive coding, can also show creativity, or on the contrary, prediction error minimization unqualifies for the design of systems that respond in creative ways to non-recurrent problems. We argue that there is a key ingredient that has been overlooked by researchers that needs to be incorporated to understand intelligent behavior in biological and technical systems. This ingredient is boredom. We propose a mathematical model based on the Black-Scholes-Merton equation which provides mechanistic insights into the interplay between boredom and prediction pleasure as the key drivers of behavior.


Bayesian brain; Black-Scholes model; Boredom; Free energy minimization; Helmholtz machine; Predictive coding

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