We recently published a review article in the Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology that highlights evidence we, in collaboration with the Danckert Attention Group, and others have garnered to suggest a critical involvement of the right hemisphere in mental model updating.
A fundamental human skill is the ability to learn from our environment. This ability helps us build mental models: simplified representations of different situations that guide our decisions. An equally important skill is the ability to update these models when they are no longer supported by our observations - your mental model of good local restaurants will likely change if you’re consistently disappointed with the food at a location you used to enjoy.
In our review we cover evidence to suggest that right brain damage impairs both the ability to learn from the the environment (i.e., build mental models) and update to environmental changes. We then use evidence from our patient and neuroimaging work to highlight a potential network of right hemisphere regions that could be involved. We finish by highlighting some outstanding questions: What are the temporal dynamics of the brain regions involved in updating? What role does the left hemisphere play?
We’re excited with our continuing work and welcome any questions or comments. Some of our new research will be presented at Society for Neurosicence 2016. If you would like to meet there and chat feel free to get in touch!