Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Humans are particularly good at using generalisations from past experiences to make broad assumptions when they are faced with little information about new experiences.

In a new study, researchers from the University of Oxford, UCL and DeepMind, looked at whether such abstract knowledge affects how we approach new experiences.

It is thought that making these inferences relies on the models of the world that we create in our mind during everyday experiences, which use the same neural mechanisms (and brain cells) that help us understand our position relative to other objects and places.

Although predominantly encoding our current location, these brain cells also spontaneously recall old memories, and explore new possibilities – a phenomenon known as “replay”.

Read more on the University of Oxford website

Similar stories

New Analysis Challenges Guidelines on Treating Anorexia Nervosa

Research Highlights

A new analysis, published in The Lancet Psychiatry, has shown a lack of strong evidence to support current guidance on psychological therapies for treating anorexia nervosa over expert treatment as usual.

Capturing immune cells that colonise the brain to prevent disease progression in multiple sclerosis

Research Highlights

Researchers have revealed a disease-causing population of immune cells, which travel to the brain in patients with multiple sclerosis. They demonstrate how to trap these cells in the blood, which means they can be targeted to prevent disease progression.

How the brain reorganises old memories when new ones are made

Research Highlights

Researchers have discovered that the arrangement of existing memories in the brain is altered when we embed new memories

Improving Experiences of People with Serious Mental Health Problems

Research Highlights

A project led by Professor Kam Bhui and Dr Roisin Mooney, University of Oxford, will focus on reducing the number of people admitted or readmitted to compulsory care under the Mental Health Act. This is one of four new research projects funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) with the aim to improve patient experiences and outcomes under the Mental Health Act.

Potential New Target to Prevent or Delay Dementia

Research Highlights

New study shows targeting arterial stiffening earlier in a person’s lifespan could provide cognitive benefits in older age and may help to delay the onset of dementia.

Investigating New Treatment for Schizophrenia

Research Highlights Strategic Developments

A partnership between University of Oxford, the Earlham Institute, and the global pharmaceutical companies Biogen Inc and Boehringer Ingelheim has been announced to investigate a new drug target for the treatment of schizophrenia.