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Researchers have discovered that the brain saves energy by predicting what it is likely to see. According to scientists in the Department of Psychology at the University of Glasgow in collaboration with the Max-Planck Institute for Brain Research, Frankfurt, Germany, the visual cortex does not simply react to visual stimuli but proactively predicts what it is likely to see in any given context - for example, within familiar environments such as your house or office.
Dr Muckli said: “By predictive coding we refer to the idea that the brain generates predictions that estimate the visual input it will most likely receive given the contextual information from the recent past. For the brain it’s really about surprise reduction.”
It might explain why sometimes you don’t notice something different in a familiar environment because your brain is seeing what it expects to see, rather than what is actually there.
“What we need to do now is extend this research to consider predictive coding in more natural environments and other aspects of sensory perception