To what extent can we feel what someone else feels? Data from neuroscience suggest that empathy is supported by a simulation process, namely the neural activation of the same or similar regions that subserve the representation of specific states in the observer. However, expectations significantly modulate sensory input, including affective information. For example, expecting painful stimulation can decrease the neural signal and the subjective experience thereof. For an accurate representation of the other person’s state, such top-down processes would have to (...) be simulated as well. However, this is only partly possible, because expectations are usually acquired by learning. Therefore, it is important to be aware of possible misleading simulations that lead to misinterpretations of someone’s state. (shrink)
The claim that nonhuman animals lack foresight is common and intuitive. I propose an alternative whereby foresight is a gradual continuum in that it is present in animals to the extent that it is needed. A second aspect of this commentary points out that the requirements that the memory that mediates foresight be both specific yet flexible seem contradictory.
Curiosity and creativity are central pillars of human growth and invention. While they have been studied extensively in isolation, the relationship between them has not yet been established. We propose that curiosity and creativity both emanate from the same mechanism of novelty-seeking. We first present a synthesis showing that curiosity and creativity are affected similarly by a number of key cognitive faculties such as memory, cognitive control, attention, and reward. We then review empirical evidence from neuroscience research, indicating that the (...) same brain regions are involved in both curiosity and creativity, focusing on the interplay between three major brain networks: the default-mode network, the salience network, and the executive control network. After substantiating the link between curiosity and creativity, we propose a novelty-seeking model (NSM) that underlies them both and suggest that the manifestation of the NSM is governed by one's state of mind (SoM). (shrink)