The Proactive Brain

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

16 Scopus citations


This chapter proposes that the human brain is proactive in that it continuously generates predictions that anticipate the relevant future. In this proposal, analogies are derived from elementary information that is extracted rapidly from the input to link that input with representations that exist in memory. Finding an analogical link results in the generation of focused predictions via associative activation of representations that are relevant to this analogy, a process aided by context-based inhibition. Predictions in complex circumstances, such as social inter actions, combine multiple analogies. Such predictions need not be created "from scratch" in new situations, but rather rely on existing scripts in memory, which are the result of real as well as previously imagined experiences. This cognitive neuroscience framework can help explain a variety of phenomena, ranging from recognition to first impressions, and from the brain's "default mode" to a host of mental disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPredictions in the Brain
Subtitle of host publicationUsing Our Past to Generate a Future
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780199897230
ISBN (Print)9780195395518
StatePublished - 22 Sep 2011
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2011 by Oxford University Press, Inc. All rights reserved.


  • Associative activation
  • First impressions
  • Memory
  • Predictions
  • Recognition
  • Representations


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