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© 2020 Behavioural context in the form of reward expectation or the social influence of conspecifics has profound effects on the decisions primates make. A central question has been whether such contextual influences can already bias processing of sensory stimuli (and thereby affect perception), or whether they predominantly exert their effects by altering brain processing during later sensorimotor and motor executive stages (i.e. behaviour is modified in response to unaltered percepts). With particular emphasis on visual perceptual decision-making paradigms in primates, we discuss recent studies investigating how reward and social influence bias sensory cortical processing and decision behaviour. The study of such context dependence during visual behaviour, decision making, and social interactions has fundamental implications for our understanding of the nature of subjective perception and perceptual learning, and may also shed light on the aetiologies of perceptual disturbances in neuropsychiatric disorders such as autism, schizophrenia or anorexia.

Original publication




Journal article


Current Opinion in Physiology

Publication Date





109 - 117