“I Just Knew That Would Happen.” Ever felt that way? How are brain makes predictions is pretty interesting and the predictive processes in our brains is still be studied today. The human brain uses several predictive processes, including perception, attention, memory, and decision-making. These processes are relevant to learning and trauma because they help us make sense of our experiences and anticipate future events. Below we look at how the brain makes predictions and a quick look at what that means for learning and trauma.
In terms of learning, predictive processes allow us to form expectations about what will happen next based on our past experiences. For example, if we have learned that a certain behavior leads to a positive outcome, we are more likely to repeat that behavior in the future. Predictive processes also help us identify patterns and make connections between different pieces of information, which can aid in learning and problem-solving.
So, how does our brain make predictions?
Our brain makes predictions by using a combination of top-down and bottom-up processing.
Top-down processing involves using our prior knowledge, expectations, and context to make predictions about what we are experiencing. For example, if we see a blurry image of a cat, our brain may use our prior knowledge of what a cat looks like to fill in the missing details and predict that it is indeed a cat.
Bottom-up processing involves taking in sensory information from our environment and using it to form predictions. For example, if we hear a loud noise, our brain may predict that it is a threat and activate our fight or flight response.
Both top-down and bottom-up processing work together to help us make accurate predictions about our environment. Our brain constantly compares incoming sensory information to our existing knowledge and expectations, and updates our predictions accordingly.
It’s important to note that our predictions our brain makes are not always accurate, and our brain is constantly adjusting and updating them based on new information. This is why we sometimes experience surprises or unexpected events, even when we thought we had accurately predicted what would happen.
Brain Predictions and Trauma
In the context of trauma, our brain’s predictive processes can be disrupted or altered. Traumatic experiences can create a sense of unpredictability and uncertainty, which can lead to hypervigilance and anxiety. The brain may also form inaccurate predictions about future events based on the traumatic experience, leading to avoidance behaviors and difficulty processing new information.
Overall, understanding the role of the brain’s predictive processes in learning and trauma can help us develop more effective strategies for education and trauma treatment.