Motivated perception: How the brain sees what it wants to see

Yuan Chang Leong

(Stanford University)

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Date: January 14, 2018


People tend to believe their perceptions are veridical representations of the world, but also commonly report perceiving what they want to see or hear. Do desires and wants alter perceptual experience, or do they merely bias subjective reports? In this talk, I will present converging evidence from computational modeling and functional neuroimaging indicating that motivational influences on perception reflect dissociable perceptual and response components. My talk will examine the role of the reward circuitry in biasing perceptual processes, and provide a computational description of how the drive for reward can lead to inaccurate representations of the world. If time permits, I will present recent work investigating motivational biases in the processing of naturalistic audio-visual stimuli.

Further Information:

[1] Leong, Y. C., Hughes, B. L., Wang, Y., & Zaki, J. (2018). Neurocomputational mechanisms underlying motivated seeing. bioRxiv, 364836. doi: 10.1101/364836.
[2] Leong, Y. C., Radulescu, A., Daniel, R., DeWoskin, V., & Niv, Y. (2017). Dynamic interaction between reinforcement learning and attention in multidimensional environments. Neuron, 93(2), 451-463. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2016.12.040.

Created: Thursday, January 17th, 2019