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What happens when we imagine the future

What happens when we imagine the future


  • The constructive function makes it possible to create and predict a future event.
  • The evolutionary function determines whether this event is positive or negative.
  • Two more subnets have been discovered and share imaginative capabilities for a future event.

When not being asked to solve a task, the brain likes to ditch and walk around, making room for ideas. In this case, he should look at future events and then activate a so-called “default” network. This area was discovered recently without a good understanding of its performance. In a study published on May 17 in The Journal of NeuroscienceAmerican researchers provided more detail and uncovered two functions in this brain region: one constructive and the other evaluative.

Several parts of the brain are affected

These two rotations are complementary in anticipation towards a future event. The first allows for the creation and prediction of a future event, and this is the constructive function, while the other evaluates whether this event is positive or negative, the evaluation function. “It is a clear divisionSays Joseph Cable, a neuroscientist at the University of Pennsylvania in the United States and director of research. When psychologists explain why humans have the ability to imagine the future, it is usually so that we can determine what to do, plan, and make decisions. But the critical function is the evaluation function. It’s not just about suggesting a prospect, but also evaluating it as good or bad.. “

This default mode network includes several parts of the brain such as the ventral prefrontal cortex, the posterior cingulate cortex, and medial temporal and parietal lobe regions, such as the hippocampus. “When you scan the brain and ask them not to do anything, and sit there, these are the areas of the brain that appear to be active.The neuroscientist continues.

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Two subnets detected

To find the answer, researchers conducted a study of 13 women and 11 men. They were placed in a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) machine, and each received several scenarios, such asImagine sitting on a warm beach on a tropical island“Or”Imagine you won the lottery next year“Then they had 7 seconds to read one, 12 seconds to think about it, and finally, 14 seconds to assess vitality and parity.”Clarity is the degree to which the image that comes to mind contains many details and how those details appear in person rather than vague.Joseph Cable says. Equivalence is an emotional evaluation. How positive or negative is the event? Is this something you want to see happen or not?Participants performed this procedure four times, and each time the researchers observed brain activity using fMRI.

These experiments allowed the researchers to highlight the existence of two subnets during the presentation of a future event. “The network, which we will call the primary network by default, has been affected by parityJoseph Capel described it. In other words, he was more active in positive events than in negative events, but was not influenced at all by the vitality you share in the evaluation function.. “The other subnet, the ventral network by default, is more active for rapid events than for events without details.”But it was not affected by parityNeuroscientist adds. It is also active in events, both positive and negative, which indicates that the web is really involved in building imagination.. “

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Other research has already begun

Researchers have welcomed these discoveries, which open a first step toward understanding the foundations of imaginative capacities. They noted that more complex assessments could provide further clues to this neurological process. They have already indicated that they want to analyze the reasons why people do not place as much importance on future outcomes as immediate results. “One theory is that the future is not alive, not tangible, detailed, and tangible like something right in front of us.Joseph Cable says. We began to use our definition of a subnet involved in building to ask the question: How active is this network when people think about future outcomes versus the same outcome in the present?