CUED Publications database

Internal representations of temporal statistics and feedback calibrate motor-sensory interval timing.

Acerbi, L and Wolpert, DM and Vijayakumar, S (2012) Internal representations of temporal statistics and feedback calibrate motor-sensory interval timing. PLoS Comput Biol, 8. e1002771-.

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Abstract

Humans have been shown to adapt to the temporal statistics of timing tasks so as to optimize the accuracy of their responses, in agreement with the predictions of Bayesian integration. This suggests that they build an internal representation of both the experimentally imposed distribution of time intervals (the prior) and of the error (the loss function). The responses of a Bayesian ideal observer depend crucially on these internal representations, which have only been previously studied for simple distributions. To study the nature of these representations we asked subjects to reproduce time intervals drawn from underlying temporal distributions of varying complexity, from uniform to highly skewed or bimodal while also varying the error mapping that determined the performance feedback. Interval reproduction times were affected by both the distribution and feedback, in good agreement with a performance-optimizing Bayesian observer and actor model. Bayesian model comparison highlighted that subjects were integrating the provided feedback and represented the experimental distribution with a smoothed approximation. A nonparametric reconstruction of the subjective priors from the data shows that they are generally in agreement with the true distributions up to third-order moments, but with systematically heavier tails. In particular, higher-order statistical features (kurtosis, multimodality) seem much harder to acquire. Our findings suggest that humans have only minor constraints on learning lower-order statistical properties of unimodal (including peaked and skewed) distributions of time intervals under the guidance of corrective feedback, and that their behavior is well explained by Bayesian decision theory.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Bayes Theorem Feedback, Sensory Humans Models, Biological Psychomotor Performance Statistics, Nonparametric Time Factors
Subjects: UNSPECIFIED
Divisions: Div F > Computational and Biological Learning
Depositing User: Cron Job
Date Deposited: 07 Mar 2014 11:20
Last Modified: 08 Dec 2014 02:32
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1002771