Bayes rule in perception, action and cognition
Daniel Wolpert and Zoubin Ghahramani
The Oxford Companion to the Mind
Oxford University Press
Cognition and intelligent behaviour are fundamentally tied to the ability to survive in an uncertain and changing environment. Our only access to knowledge about the world is through our senses which provide information that is usually corrupted by random fluctuations, termed noise, and may provide ambiguous information about the possible states of the environment. Moreover, when we act on the world through our motor system, the commands we send to our muscles are also corrupted by variability or noise. This combined sensory and motor variability limits the precision with which we can perceive and act on the world. Here we will review the framework of Bayesian decision theory, which has emerged as a principled approach to handle uncertain information in an attempt to behave optimally, and how this framework can be used to understand sensory, motor and cognitive processes.