Event Representations and Predictive Processing: The Role of the Midline Default Network Core

David Stawarczyk, Matthew A. Bezdek, Jeffrey M. Zacks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


The human brain is tightly coupled to the world through its sensory-motor systems—but it also spends a lot of its metabolism talking to itself. One important function of this intrinsic activity is the establishment and updating of event models—representations of the current situation that can predictively guide perception, learning, and action control. Here, we propose that event models largely depend on the default network (DN) midline core that includes the posterior cingulate and anterior medial prefrontal cortex. An increasing body of data indeed suggests that this subnetwork can facilitate stimuli processing during both naturalistic event comprehension and cognitive tasks in which mental representations of prior situations, trials, and task rules can predictively guide attention and performance. This midline core involvement in supporting predictions through event models can make sense of an otherwise complex and conflicting pattern of results regarding the possible cognitive functions subserved by the DN.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)164-186
Number of pages23
JournalTopics in Cognitive Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2021


  • Attention
  • Default network
  • Event cognition
  • Mind-wandering
  • Naturalistic stimuli
  • Predictions
  • Self-generated thoughts
  • fMRI


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