: How does our imagination work?



To expand on the question : how can we see and create images, recreate or create sound and smells in our head?

In: Biology

Okay so you have in your head millions of these little zappy balls that like to zap each other in specific patterns.

Each time they zap in a specific pattern your brain has specific thoughts, actions, etc.

When you see hear and smell new things a new pattern is created and added to the list of patterns you already have.

When you sleep your brain takes these patterns and tries to make sure you don’t have too many patterns and gets rid of or combines them if it can. It is very busy doing this all night which is why you need lots of sleep if you do a lot of learning.

But when you imagine things or daydream or remember things you are forcing you brain balls to zap each other in a specific way from your list of patterns. If you do this a lot you will sometimes change the pattern slightly or combine it with other patterns it’s running as your body is still breathing and stuff. Which is why studying and chewing gum or whatever is a good memory trick cause your brain zappy pattern for that is used very often and has deep marks left to fill with other stuff temporarily.

Imagination is of new things is when your brain takes common patterns you know very well and mixes then up because they have interlocking parts, like legos. If you have a particularly efficient brain that breaks everything down as much as possible you end up with artists, inventors, actors, etc. People whose zappy balls have organized themselves and their patterns in a way that allows them to build better lego models because they have more pieces and more unique pieces.

Eventually your zappy balls cant produce enough electricity to zap and then memories will be incomplete as the pattern isn’t working anymore due to one ball not zapping. Which is why when your memory starts to fail when your older it can be random unrelated things and not sudden complete amnesia (which is when you lose access to the list of patterns from injury or other things.)

Not eveyone can. Some people can’t create images in their head, they dont think in pictures. some people can create images but not color images. Some people only see stills like photos, while others can Create entire 3d environments and objects and manipulate them like its on a computer. some people cant play music in their heads. Some people cant even talk to themselves in their head!

Brains all work very differently, and people are constantly studying it to understand why people think is such different ways and what advantages and disadvantages different ways of thinking might have on someone, and why the brain develops one method of thinking over another.

And that didnt answer you question at all..

The imagination basically evolved for the benefit of being able to remember a prey animal exists, even if it hides behind a rock and is no longer in sight. This requires a creature’s brain to be able of remembering what the prey is, that it last saw it scoot behind a rock, and “simulating” it’s existence behind the rock, so it knows where to go to catch it. Eventually, because of evolution, this ability of catalogueing and simulating our environment in our brain became more advanced and capable, and that’s how you eventually end up with an imagination.