ACh, Uncertainty, and Cortical Inference

Peter Dayan & Angela Yu
NIPS 2001, to appear


Acetylcholine (ACh) has been implicated in a wide variety of tasks involving attentional processes and plasticity. Following extensive animal studies, it has previously been suggested that ACh reports on uncertainty and controls hippocampal, cortical and cortico-amygdalar plasticity. We extend this view and consider its effects on cortical representational inference, arguing that ACh controls the balance between bottom-up inference, influenced by the input stimuli, and top-down inference, influenced by contextual information. We illustrate our proposal using a hierarchical hidden Markov model.
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