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Remembering the future: Our brain saves energy by predicting what it will see

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posted on Mar, 24 2010 @ 12:48 PM

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

Your brain aniticipates your enviroment. I find that interesting. If your brain is used to a prticular enviroment then it may miss certain small changes that don't match its predetermined template of that enviroment.

I think that may explain why I always lose my keys. I have a designated spot for them which my brain anticipates will contain the keys. When they aren't there and I begin to look for them it's hard to find them because my brain just doesn't notice them because they are insignifigant to the scene. That is very peculiar.

I could see how this could be both benificial and detrimental. Interesting either way though.

posted on Mar, 24 2010 @ 01:33 PM
Perhaps that may be a reason that people do not see ufo's or other strange phenomena as the brain has no reason to see them and so for the most part people don't.

posted on Mar, 24 2010 @ 01:36 PM
About your keys: Mine are usually still in the door, hahaha.

I clean my apartment maybe one every three months. Each time I do, I will find something important, like a zippo or sunglassses. I will place the important thing in a random spot, thinking ill remember that I put it there, then ten minutes later I can never find it. EVERYTIME. I will literally be thinking " I need to put this in a spot that I will remeber" but its like its been put in some alternate dimension that can only be assessed by my semi annual cleaning ritual, haha.

I think it goes a long way to help explain why humans are so intune to their surroundings, and why people get scarred at night when you hear something or see something that your not expecting to be there. its like it kick starts your brain like _"that does not compute"_

also, if your brain works like that, it could help further explain why when your scarred, you will be far more susceptible to see more and hear more out of place things, like your mind is trying to produce what "must be there" - (meaning if I think about a burgler before I go to bed, I am ten times more likely to get out of bed and investigate any out of place sounds).

I wonder how this is woven into the Dejavu (sp?) experience. Anytime I go to a new place I will think about and imagine what the place is like for hours on end before I go, then I go and I can never again remember what I thought it was going to be like because the space for that information in my brain has been replaced with what the place actually looks like, if that makes any sense.

well, all that sounded alot deeper in my head, but my mind knew that I would be a lazy typer so I guess it stopped working halfway though,

posted on Mar, 27 2010 @ 12:44 AM
that also explains something that bugged me in school, whenever we'd get a new seating arrangment in class, in the new seat, i'd just feel... off... given this lasted maybe 15 minutes tops, but averaging 5 minute

posted on Mar, 27 2010 @ 12:54 AM
reply to post by constantwonder

I have the opposite of what you have. You have a designated spot, whereas I can imagine it being everywhere. So I'm just about as clueless as you are at that point!

posted on Mar, 27 2010 @ 01:00 AM
Maybe this is why one day while waiting on a red light, I almost stepped on the gas thinking I saw a green light. I caught myself though since the light did not turn green for another whole second or two.

posted on Apr, 19 2010 @ 02:25 PM
It implies we may have discrete conceptualization.

We have square holes to fill. What happens when we encounter a round peg?
do we [try to] hammer it into a square hole?
do we toss it aside & deny/ignore/forget that we encountered it?

It is probably related to our tendency/capacity to 'categorize' things.

But if we could take our brains back to a virgin, ready to impression state then we might end up with different [re-calculated] calibrations.

That is where the next generation often fills in. Their conceptualization/categorization system is being created from scratch.

A lot of times if we operate from the impressionistic state, we can pick up on as-yet undefined subtleties. If we always work from pre-packaged mechanical logic units we may forever be effectively blind to something.

Impressionism tends to be inherently more [fuzzy?] centered.
Less given to wild, bizarre, eccentric, potentially neurotic thought patterns.

Maybe we should regularly do a fuzzy center check/re-set?
Just to kind of bring things back to some center.
Hopefully before we go too far off the pathological deep end.

posted on Apr, 19 2010 @ 02:33 PM
Its like when your reading, alot of the time your guessing in your mind what comes next.

Like this article is news.

posted on Jun, 24 2012 @ 03:21 PM
reply to post by constantwonder

Very interesting. I've always thought that we fill in the holes in our perception with our own expectations, but I think this research you linked actually shows some solid foundation for it.

Imagine only getting scant data on something and then your brain using its power of pattern recognition to create a fuller picture of what the data MIGHT represent based on past experience. In effect, everything we sense IS scant data. It's not perfect data, you see? So our brain has always been predicting to help us understand the data. But what this research shows is that it doesn't just do this with limited information (as we all have), but it also does this to conserve energy.

What I imagine happening is that the brain sees a face and once it figures out that the face is familiar, it disengages the memory centers so they don't have to try to remember it. If things in the environment generally follow a set pattern spatially or temporally the brain will probably lower alert status to conserve energy. Otherwise, the brain would always be in a HYPER! state. In some way, this is like when people deliberately choose to walk or run depending on the circumstances. If we always ran wherever we went then that would demand significant resources. It might also increase the risk of injury due to falls. So the brain has to be extra alert when we run to reduce falls.

EDIT: I just noticed this is an old thread. But this is interesting research and I don't see why there's anything wrong with posting in it. When did it become wrong to recall interesting things? It's like suddenly anything in the past is now discarded and ignored since it's considered obsolete. I swear this thought process is trending. When did I become so old fashioned that I lost touch?
edit on 24-6-2012 by jonnywhite because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 24 2012 @ 04:03 PM
Good article.

I think it's just more evidence that Digital Physics is correct and the universe is the output of a program.

The brain does this to save energy. This is because the brain is an information processor. We see the same thing on a quantum level. When the measurement isn't being used by the Observer it doesn't exist. It becomes information stored in a wave of probabilities. This is to save energy.

It's just like a website. The information is stored on a server until an observer types in the website address.

This is why you hear the saying,"If it was a snake it would have bit you."

This is because when you go into a bedroom or office your brain(server) pulls up the information stored on the server(brain). When there's new information in the room to be processed, sometimes it takes the brain time to process this information and you could you can't find something that's right in front of you. Then someone less familiar with the room can walk right in and see it.
edit on 24-6-2012 by neoholographic because: (no reason given)

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