The Construction System of the Brain

Demis Hassabis and Eleanor A. Maguire

in Predictions in the Brain

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780195395518
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199897230 | DOI:
The Construction System of the Brain

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The recollection of episodic memories is widely accepted to be a reconstructive process as opposed to the simple retrieval of a perfect holistic record. In the context of real-world experiences, a productive way to investigate recollection of the past and prediction of the future is, ironically, not to study the past or the future at all. Because the core processes underlying prediction of the future can be coopted by a range of other atemporal cognitive functions, these processes may be best isolated and understood in the context of paradigms where time is not an explicit factor, such as imagining fictitious experiences. This chapter discusses a scene construction network that supports the construction system of the brain allowing for the internal rehearsal of events or scenes. Scene construction underpins the process of creating a setting in which a simulated event can unfold whether past, present, future, atemporal, or hypothetical. It is shown that the ability to preexperience hypothetical events confers an evolutionary advantage in planning for the future.

Keywords: scene construction network; brain; hypothetical events; future planning; episodic memory

Chapter.  6195 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Cognitive Psychology

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