The Predictive Brain

World Futures 68 (6):381 - 389 (2012)
Abstract
During the lengthy and complex process of human evolution our ancestors had to adapt to extremely testing situations in which survival depended on making rapid choices that subjected muscles and the body as a whole to extreme tension. In order to seize a prey traveling at speeds that could reach 36 km per hour Homo sapiens had just thousandths of a second in which to anticipate the right moment and position himself before the prey arrived. He also had to prepare the appropriate gesture, tensing his muscles and overcoming the resistance determined by body weight. While we are no longer faced with an environment that is anything so threatening, our brain continues to use these mechanisms day in day out to save time and energy, enabling us to avoid situations of danger, sense in advance the intentions of an interlocutor, and more besides. In this article we set out to show that our brain is not only a reactive mechanism, capable of reacting quickly to the stimuli that arrive from the external environment, but is above all a pro-active mechanism that allows us to make hypotheses, anticipate the consequences of actions, and formulate expectations: in short, to wrong foot an adversary
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