WASHINGTON: Our brain uses subconscious mental categories to sort through everyday experiences, a new study has found.

The brain knows it’s time to cook when the stove is on, and the food and pots are out. When someone rushes away to calm a crying child, it knows cooking is over and it’s time to be a parent. The brain processes and responds to these occurrences as distinct, unrelated events.

 But it remains unclear exactly how the brain breaks such experiences into “events,” or the related groups that help us mentally organise the day’s many situations.

A dominant concept of event-perception known as prediction error says that our brain draws a line between the end of one event and the start of another when things take an unexpected turn (such as a suddenly distraught child)

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