The proactive brain: Memory for predictions: Memory for predictions

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It is proposed 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 the 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, in the given context. Predictions in complex circumstances, such as social interactions, combine multiple analogies. Such predictions need not be created afresh in new situations, but rather rely on existing scripts in memory, which are the result of real as well as of previously imagined experiences. This cognitive neuroscience framework provides a new hypothesis with which to consider the purpose of memory, and 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. © 2009 The Royal Society.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1235-1243
Number of pages9
JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1521
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2009


  • Anticipation
  • Default network
  • Expectation
  • Foresight
  • Memory
  • Mindset


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