I was reading this article on how researchers have analysed the neural circuits of mice as they walk and figured out how they ignore the sound of their own steps while retaining the ability to hear other things at the same time. Like the sound of a cat sneaking up on them.
It’s really quite neat and it relies on the brain being able to generate predictive information that the brain’s listening circuit then uses as a filter to filter out that sound with good accuracy.
And they think it will lead to a better way into understanding how people do this same thing while refining activities like speaking and playing an instrument.
In the last paragraph I read something that resonated with a favourite theory of mind of mind.
“By figuring out how the brain normally makes predictions about self-generated sounds, we open the opportunity for understanding a fascinating ability — predicting the future — and for deepening our understanding of how the brain breaks during disease.”
To me, and my theory, the ability to predict the future in the behaviour of another creature is a milestone in our development. One which we would not exist without our ancestors evolving it.
Think of it: until that moment the thinking processes in a creature are relatively confined to a model of self within a model of the world outside the self. (that is a very simplified version)
The moment you evolve the functionality to predict some future event, process, action, or reaction the brain has expanded it’s capability in a stupendous way. Then the extension of that power to being able to predict what some other creature might do leads to a mind being able to imagine another mind within it. And have that captive model mind work well enough that it’s behaviour correctly predicts the actual creature’s behaviour. That sounds like a simple thing but step back for a moment and let it sink in. A mind is an open-ended, near infinite, thing. Moving from biology to mind is one step. moving from one mind to more than one mind within the same ‘mind’ is a qualitatively different thing.
A predator that cannot do this goes hungry, starves and dies. One that can eats, reproduces and passes on this capability.
Could this neural circuitry found in the research the article is about be part of the basis at the root of predictivity?