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Although computers are making impressive strides in learning, humans still learn orders of magnitude faster.

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 (University of Oxford website)

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