Predicting the Past, Remembering the Future

Curr Opin Behav Sci. 2017 Oct;17:7-13. doi: 10.1016/j.cobeha.2017.05.025. Epub 2017 Jun 9.


Rational analyses of memory suggest that retrievability of past experience depends on its usefulness for predicting the future: memory is adapted to the temporal structure of the environment. Recent research has enriched this view by applying it to semantic memory and reinforcement learning. This paper describes how multiple forms of memory can be linked via common predictive principles, possibly subserved by a shared neural substrate in the hippocampus. Predictive principles offer an explanation for a wide range of behavioral and neural phenomena, including semantic fluency, temporal contiguity effects in episodic memory, and the topological properties of hippocampal place cells.

Keywords: Successor representation; hippocampus; rational analysis; temporal context.