Home science A Brief History of Fiction, Through the Eyes of Science

A Brief History of Fiction, Through the Eyes of Science

A Brief History of Fiction, Through the Eyes of Science

Starting with the very ancient oniric activity associated with Rem’s Dream, a controlled imagination has been accessed in hundreds of millions of years. Journey to the origins of creativity

Creativity and imagination are human qualities whose products we value most. But we can ask ourselves If it is just human characteristics, how did it evolve and how old is its development history. Evolutionary neurobiologists have tried to create a picture that can summarize the current state of knowledge, which is roughly as follows. Let’s start with our ability to remember objects, pathways, and events: These past memories are encoded by groups of neurons in the neocortex. Remembering an object or an episode reactivates the same neurons that encoded it in the first place. Perhaps all mammals can remember and recall previously encoded objects and events by reactivating the same set of neurons. The memory system based on the neocortex that evolved 200 million years ago has become, according to the latest theories, the first essential step towards developing the ability to imagine.

The next step in this direction is The ability to build a “memory” This did not really happen, that is, to write down mental images of things and events that have never been encountered, so to speak, “new” in our experience. The simplest form of constructing new objects and scenes in our minds takes place in dreams. These vivid and strange involuntary fantasies in man are associated with a stage REM sleep. Through homology, scientists hypothesize that mammalian species that include resting periods of REM sleep experience dreams. Marsupial and placental mammals possess REM sleep, but monotremes such as echidna, an early egg-laying mammal, do not, suggesting that this phase of the sleep cycle evolved after the separation of monotremes and the rest of the mammals. , about 140 million years ago. . Indeed, recording the activity of certain specialized neurons in the brain to encode memory of places has shown that animals with REM sleep can dream of going to places regardless of their actual perception of reality.

demonstrated dream brain activity, that is, the free re-association of real or out-of-thin air memories in our brain during the REM phase of dreaming, Various functions to strengthen and clean memory and cognitive processes, but at the same time they also represent a form of “undisciplined” imagination – a way, not surprisingly, that poets and artists describe dreams sung with nocturnal fantasies. The difference between involuntary fantasy, such as a dream, and voluntary fantasy, according to modern theories, is the same as the difference between voluntary muscle control and muscle spasticity. Voluntary muscle control allows people to deliberately combine muscle movements. Spasticity occurs spontaneously and cannot be controlled. Likewise, voluntary imagination allows people to deliberately incorporate their memories—that is, mental images—and also abstractions drawn from experience of reality. When a person is asked to mentally fit the center of two circles of identical diameter, he immediately imagines that the two circles will exactly coincide. Similarly, if a person is asked to imagine making a bouquet of roses and daisies by collecting 6 flowers of each type, we are able to visualize the whole process – that is, imagine it.

This intentional, reactive, and reliable ability to combine and reassemble mental objects, drawn from memory and from abstractions that can be obtained by generalizing memorized objects and operations, is called Frontal synthesis. It is based on the ability of the prefrontal cortex in the frontal part of the brain to control the rest of the neocortex. When did our species acquire the ability to synthesize the frontal lobe? As far as we know today, starting with 70,000 years ago This ability is already developed: in fact, there are several archaeological finds that unequivocally indicate its existence, that is, representations of non-existent creatures (lion-men, for example), eye-carved bone needles, bows and arrows, musical instruments, burials indicate complex to afterlife beliefs and many other consequences. As can be seen, each of the exhibits mentioned is implied The synthesis of mental images does not exist in physical realitythus defining with certainty the presence of the imaginal process due to the synthesis of the frontal lobe.

After 65,000 years ago, artifacts such as those reported appear simultaneously in several geographically distinct locations, roughly coinciding with the great migration of our species out of Africa; If we also look at the ancient data and the inferences that can be drawn from the more recent data, it is possible that some individuals acquired better imaginative abilities than others and then spread the trait throughout humans in a surprisingly rapid manner.
Cognitive strategies that imagination allows are covered immediately Particularly useful adaptive function, soon made these more imaginative ancestors, who not only imagined and acted out their fantasies with new artistic productions, but could use the same brain circuits to plan or mentally explore a still unknown reality, better preparing themselves with their imaginations. Starting with the very ancient oniric activity linked to the dream of the Rem, absent as far as we know today only in the primitive monoads, we have arrived in hundreds of millions of years to a controlled imagination, capable of giving rise to art, but also science; This, in light of modern science, is the story of our imagination.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here