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SFB/TRR 135 Cardinal Mechanisms of Perception:

Prediction, Evaluation, Categorization

Perception is arguably the most basic and important function of the human mind, as it is the only source of information from the environment. The senses provide us with a window on the world through which we can take in information. Perception, on the other hand, is the process that interprets these signals, and thus makes "sense" of them in the first place.

We aim to explain perception comprehensively on the basis of three fundamental principles: Prediction, Evaluation, and Categorization. These "cardinal mechanisms" generate complex internal models of the environment, which are constantly adapted and improved in the brain. This allows us to predict the future state of the environment as well as action consequences, to evaluate the possible risks and benefits of stimuli and responses, and to map the infinite set of environmental stimuli onto discrete categories of concepts and behaviors.

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