An open commentary just appeared on Clarks BBS article “Whatever next? Predictive brains, situated agents, and the future of cognitive science”. In brief, the commentary discusses the more general mechanism of internal simulation:
… But there may be more to [internal models] then only prediction. First of all, engaged (and maybe grounded as sensorimotor circuits) internal models may serve an inverse function in motor control, i.e., coming up with motor control commands when given a certain goal. Secondly, as animals and humans have a wide variety of redundant sensors, such internal models should exploit the redundancy and integrate the noisy contributions of multiple sensors.
As we know today, such internal models are not only serving one single function, but internal models are recruited in service for diverse function (Anderson, 2010), e.g., perception, to understand the actions performed by somebody else, or in planning ahead. The internal models are recruited in an internal simulation (Hesslow, 2002) – and central is their predictive function: in planning ahead they are used to simulate possible consequences of actions and then to choose only a suitable one.
The complete commentary can be found here.