Learning, Inference & Memory

Athena Akrami's lab at Sainsbury Wellcome Centre, UCL, London


Finding and exploiting patterns and regularities in the environment is a critical brain function for animals living in a complex yet structured world. Individuals can learn these regularities through experience, and use this prior information to guide future behaviour. The process of inferring statistical patterns and priors constitutes the foundation of further cognitive abilities. How do animals infer these patterns, and how priors are formed, represented, and stored?

Our past, present, and future are intimately linked by our memories of various timescales. The brain is constantly engaged in storing new memories and executing actions while integrating incoming sensory input with past memories and internal models of the world. What are the fundamental principles of (sensory) memory organization, and their utilization in inference problems? How are priors are integrated in memory, or used in combination with new sensory information?