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(Institute of Occupational Health and Environmental Medicine, Sosnowiec, Poland)
Med Sci Monit 2013; 19:1146-1158
My aim here is to formulate a compact, intuitively understandable model of neural circuits active in imagination that would be consistent with the current state of knowledge, but that would be simple enough to be able to use for teaching. I argue that such a model should be based on the recent idea of “concept neurons” and circuits of 2 separate loops necessary for recalling mental images and consolidation of memory traces of long-term memory. This paper discusses the role of the hippocampus and temporal lobe, emphasizing the essential importance of recurrent pathways and oscillations occurring in the upper layers of hierarchical neural structures, as well as oscillations in thalamo-cortical loops.
The elaborated model helps explain specific processes such as imagining future situations, novel objects, and anticipated action, as well as imagination concerning oneself, which is indispensable for the sense of identity and self-awareness.
I attempt to present this compact, simple model of neural circuitry active in imagination by using some intuitive, demonstrative figures.