# How does the brain generate answers to questions?

Firstly, I would say that this question is probably beyond current knowledge.

But I would like to hear the latest theories.

Given an input "Can you name as many animals as you can until I say 'stop'?" to a human.

If the person giving the question is seen as an authority or someone we want to please (or not displease) then we would decide to comply and answer the question.

Then we would somehow have to convert it into a small program such as the pseudo-code:

DO:
$X = FIND Z WHERE Z IS OF_TYPE "ANIMAL" IF CHECK$X IS_TYPE "ANIMAL":
SAY \$X
IF HEAR "STOP" THEN STOP
LOOP


But I assume we don't really run programs like this in our brains. So what exactly does happen?

When I do the experiment on myself. I hear these animal names popping into my conscious as if from no-where.

It's as if the simple desire to answer the question together with hearing the question (or perhaps saying it to one's self) is enough to trigger the answers to be recalled from long-term memory.

I don't consciously have to convert the question into any kind of "brain programming language". So if my brain is doing this, it's doing it automatically. (And perhaps sometimes wrongly, hence why something not an animal might pop into the brain.)

Do the current theories say that the English sentence itself is the sort of scripting language of the brain or does it translate it into something else (maybe non-linear)?

• Most modern computer programmers are at least somewhat familiar with neural networks (for machine learning). Artificial neural networks are loosely based on the way the brain (a biological neural network) works, so if you have an understanding of neural networks, then think about how Siri or Watson generate answers to questions. Apr 23 '18 at 0:14
• Isn't Siri template based? Apr 23 '18 at 0:33
• Apr 23 '18 at 0:39
• The title of your question is really broad. Would you mind editing it to reflect the body of the question better? This would allow future people to find it and understand it more easily. Apr 23 '18 at 2:00
• ok, what title do you suggest? Apr 23 '18 at 2:11