Imagining Predictions: Mental Imagery as Mental Emulation

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Imagining Predictions: Mental Imagery as Mental Emulation

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Title: Imagining Predictions: Mental Imagery as Mental Emulation
Author: Moulton, Samuel; Kosslyn, Stephen

Note: Order does not necessarily reflect citation order of authors.

Citation: Moulton, Samuel T., and Stephen M. Kosslyn. 2009. Imagining predictions: mental imagery as mental emulation. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences 364, no. 1521: 1273-1280.
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Abstract: We argue that the primary function of mental imagery is to allow us to generate specific predictions based upon past experience. All imagery allows us to answer 'what if ' questions by making explicit and accessible the likely consequences of being in a specific situation or performing a specific action. Imagery is also characterized by its reliance on perceptual representations and activation of perceptual brain systems. We use this conception of imagery to argue that all imagery is simulation more specifically, it is a specific type of simulation in which the mental processes that 'run' the simulation emulate those that would actually operate in the simulated scenario. This type of simulation, which we label emulation, has benefits over other types of simulations that merely mimic the content of the simulated scenario.
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