Uncertainty, precision, prediction errors…and computational psychiatry

Suitable for:
brain researchers,
general public

Uncertainty, precision, prediction errors…and computational psychiatry

2nd March 2015

Auditorium, Monash Biomedical Imaging, Clayton


The ARC Centre of Excellence for Integrative Brain Function in conjunction with Monash Biomedical Imaging would like to invite you to a presentation by Dr Christoph Mathys of the Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging, University College London.

Title: Uncertainty, precision, predictions errors – and their relevance to computational psychiatry

Abstract: Navigating an uncertain environment requires the continual tracking and prediction of relevant states of the outside world. Perhaps surprisingly, the computations needed to do this can be formalized mathematically using only a small number of concepts whose relation to each other follows the same pattern across domains of application. Christoph will introduce these concepts – namely predictions, prediction errors, and precision ratios – and the way they relate to each other. Given their generality, it is plausible that their misalignment might underlie many aspects of psychiatric illness. He will show how such misalignments have been used to explain psychiatric symptoms, and will briefly introduce some of the neurobiological models involved in these explanations.

Biography: Christoph Mathys studied physics at ETH Zurich, then ventured into the IT industry for several years, where he worked for a mobile applications company he partly owned. After the sale of this company he returned to academia, where he completed a master’s degree in psychology and psychopathology at the University of Zurich while doing experimental work at Harvard. He then returned to ETH Zurich to do his PhD with Klaas Enno Stephan. In the course of this, he developed the Hierarchical Gaussian Filter (HGF), a generic hierarchical Bayesian model of learning in volatile environments. Currently, he works with Karl Friston at University College London and is a fellow of the Max Planck UCL Centre for Computational Psychiatry and Ageing Research in London. His focus is on failures of predictive coding and their relation to psychopathology.

Date: Monday 2nd March 2015

Time: 4pm

Venue: Auditorium, Monash Biomedical Imaging, 770 Blackburn Rd, Clayton.