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Brain Predicts Its Error Rate

Related: Cognition

The brain keeps in memory past experiences and received rewards which constitute the observed reality.

Since the brain is trying to predict the observed reality it means that it is also predicting the expected rewards because they are a part of it.

The actual rewards are equivalent to the prediction error.

It means that the brain not just predicts the observed reality, but also its prediction error.

Moreover, dopamine neurons in the midbrain signal reward prediction errors by responding to discrepancies between received and predicted rewards. These neurons are activated by more reward than predicted (positive prediction error) or show depressed activity with less reward than predicted (negative prediction error) The dopamine reward prediction error signal is crucial for basic forms of learning about rewards and plays a significant role in guiding behavior based on expected outcome

See also: We Get Bored Because Brain Predicts Its Error Rate