The units of thought

Moshe Bar, Elissa Aminoff, Malia Mason, Mark Fenske

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

136 Scopus citations


That associative processing provides the vehicle of thought is a long-standing idea. We describe here observations from cognitive neuroimaging that elucidate the neural processing that mediates this element. This account further allows a more specific ascription of a cognitive function to the brain's "default" activity in mindwandering. We extend this account to argue that one primary outcome of associative processing is the generation of predictions, which approximate the immediately relevant future and thus facilitate perception, action, and the progression of thought.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)420-428
Number of pages9
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Associations
  • Default network
  • Medial parietal
  • Medial prefrontal
  • Parahippocampal cortex


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