The Transcontinental Computational Psychiatry Workgroup (TCPW) organizes a monthly web-based meeting and a computational psychiatry satellite meeting with the Society of Biological Psychiatry. We hope to foster discussion and exchange between those involved in computational psychiatry—a rapidly growing, highly multidisciplinary field.

Videos of past meetings are here.


Next workgroup meeting

Markov Decision Processes and the higher association cortex

Danilo Bzdok

  • Wednesday, September 30th 2020 at 16:00 - 17:00 UK (Other timezones)
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The default mode network (DMN) is believed to subserve the baseline mental activity in humans. Its higher energy consumption compared to other brain networks and its intimate coupling with conscious awareness are both pointing to an unknown overarching function. Many research streams speak in favor of an evolutionarily adaptive role in envisioning experience to anticipate the future. In the present work, we propose a *process model* that tries to explain *how* the DMN may implement continuous evaluation and prediction of the environment to guide behavior. The main purpose of DMN activity, we argue, may be described by Markov decision processes that optimize action policies via value estimates through vicarious trial and error. Our formal perspective on DMN function naturally accommodates as special cases previous interpretations based on (a) predictive coding, (b) semantic associations, and (c) a sentinel role. Moreover, this process model for the neural optimization of complex behavior in the DMN offers parsimonious explanations for recent experimental findings in animals and humans.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Danilo Bzdok
Associate Professor
Department of Biomedical Engineering
McGill University
Montreal, Canada