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The structure within fast neural dynamics as it pertains to decision making with statistical models of the world

Neural representations evolve rapidly over tens to hundreds of milliseconds. Using magnetoencephalography, we first decompose this trajectory during direct experience with visual objects and identify distinct roles for its dissociable components in a simple form of model-based reasoning. We then exploit this using a more complex non-spatial navigation task with states defined by visual objects. We find that representations of the visual objects are retrieved spontaneously in fast sequences. These sequences follow reverse order of actual paths in the task, with approximately 40 ms between object representations. We speculate a homology to rodent spatial (p)replay, with the implication that such fast sequential reactivation might be a fundamental feature of neural processing conserved across species and task domains.

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