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Seeing the FutureTheoretical Perspectives on Future-Oriented Mental Time Travel$
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Kourken Michaelian, Stanley B. Klein, and Karl K. Szpunar

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190241537

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190241537.001.0001

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The Mechanisms and Benefits of a Future-Oriented Brain

The Mechanisms and Benefits of a Future-Oriented Brain

(p.267) 13 The Mechanisms and Benefits of a Future-Oriented Brain
Seeing the Future

Giovanni Pezzulo

Oxford University Press

The ubiquity of predictive processing in the brain suggests that it is functionally oriented toward the future. Mechanisms for predictive processing such as internal generative models can give rise to internally generated brain dynamics, thus permitting the brain to “detach,” at least partially, from the here and now of the current sensorimotor context. One example are internally generated sequences of neural activity in the rodent hippocampus, which can be produced and replayed in the absence of external cues, and have been linked to flexible decisions, planning, and memory functions. In this chapter the author considers the idea that other, more sophisticated kinds of detached cognition, such as counterfactual thinking and some forms of episodic simulation, might also be based on internally generated dynamics and use an internal model that originally supported predictive processing.

Keywords:   predictive processing, future, cognition, generative model, hippocampus, brain dynamics

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