The Brain That Predicts the Future
Can your brain really predict the future? Absolutely! In fact, predicting the future is something our brains do constantly, whether it’s anticipating what someone else will say next (completing someone else’s sentence for them is actually not something you can prevent your brain from doing – although you can stop yourself from blurting it out, or guessing when the traffic light will turn green.
It turns out that there are two different areas of the brain that help us anticipate when something will happen. One area of the brain responsible for what the scientists call anticipatory timing is the cerebellum and the memories developed from our experiences. For example, we have learned how long red lights last in general and also probably the duration of a particularly slow-to-turn traffic signal. This kind of timing based on prior experience is called interval timing.
The other area of the brain involved in anticipatory timing is the basal ganglia, a group of brain structures deep beneath the cortex. This area is responsible for rhythmic timing. Rhythmic timing is sensitive to language and music and is also believed to be related to ones’ ability to pace oneself while performing and activity.
Anticipatory timing an be improved through training, according to the researchers. Timing and rhythm are among the 41 skills trained in BrainWare SAFARI cognitive training software.