Institut Jean Nicod

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Senior Lecturer, University of Exeter

Hallucinations, delusions, psychosis, psychological trauma, brain injury, the nature of illness and wellbeing, perception, action and emotion as viewed from predictive processing and embodied perspectives.



Hôtes au sein de l’Institut

Margherita Arcangeli & Jérôme Dokic

Équipe d’accueil






Professeur invité EHESS à l’Institut Jean Nicod du 23 octobre 2023 au 23 novembre 2023



"Introduction to Predictive Processing"

Séminaire ICARUS

30 octobre (15h-17h)

The Predictive Processing Framework (Friston 2005, Clark 2013, Hohwy 2013) is an increasingly popular and revolutionary way of thinking about the brain and cognition. According to it, the brain’s main task is not to process inputs from the outside world, but to predict future activity at many hierarchical timescales. This boils down to the dictum, “All the brain ever does is minimize prediction error”. This framework has wide-ranging consequences for our understanding of perception, action, mental imagery, and many other things besides. In this seminar I introduce predictive processing, elucidate various different versions of it, and raise some potential concerns for it.

"Predictive Processing and Psychosis"

Séminaire ICARUS

13 novembre (15h-17h)

One of the many appealing things about predictive processing is that it represents a point of convergence between several disciplines working independently, including embodied philosophy of cognitive science, neural networks and machine learning, as well as biological psychiatry. In this seminar, I present the different ways in which predictive processing, and, in particular, the hypothesized role of dopamine in “precision-weighting”, has been used to explain psychosis. In this context it has been used to explain delusions and hallucinations, but the standard way of accounting for these has problems and limitations. A recent development that we have proposed (in Rappe and Wilkinson 2022) overcomes these.

"Psychosis as a Disorder of the Imagination"

Séminaire de l’équipe PRISM de l’Institut Jean-Nicod

17 novembre (11h-12h30), salle de réunion de l’Insitut Jean Nicod

In this research seminar, I present a new way of thinking about psychosis, against a backdrop of predictive processing, in terms of a disorder of the imagination. Human beings are deeply imaginative animals, and we are constantly delicately switch between elements of actual and nonactual worlds. We take for granted the intricate mechanisms whereby we keep track of the what is real and what is imagined, what is generated by us, and what is produced by the world. These mechanisms can be disrupted in many different ways, sometimes by something as simple as overwhelming emotions and attentional dysregulation, giving rise to a disconnection from reality. In this respect, psychosis gets reconceptualised, not as the presence of delusions and hallucinations, but as an inability to regulate and detect our imaginative endeavours.

"Predictive Processing, Imagery and Imagination"

Séminaire ICARUS

20 novembre (10h-12h)

Several of the most prominent proponents (Hohwy 2013, Clark 2016) of predictive processing claim that predictive processing is particularly well placed to explain imagination : it involves generating the predictive hypothesis in a decoupled manner by turning down the gain on prediction error. As we proposed in Jones and Wilkinson (2020), this conflates imagery and imagination. While predictive processing might be good at explaining imagery, imagery is not sufficient for imagination, nor, arguably, is it even necessary. In this seminar I present the many things that a predictive processing account would need to accommodate in order to properly give an account of imagination. What emerges is a view of imagination that is both adverbialist (an organism is imagining if and only if they are doing something imaginatively) and enculturated (extended creative practices give rise to imagination and not vice versa).