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Although we perceive the world in a continuous manner, our experience is partitioned into discrete events. However, to make sense of these events, they must be stitched together into an overarching narrative-a model of unfolding events. It has been proposed that such a stitching process happens in offline neural reactivations when rodents build models of spatial environments. Here we show that, while understanding a natural narrative, humans reactivate neural representations of past events. Similar to offline replay, these reactivations occur in the hippocampus and default mode network, where reactivations are selective to relevant past events. However, these reactivations occur, not during prolonged offline periods, but at the boundaries between ongoing narrative events. These results, replicated across two datasets, suggest reactivations as a candidate mechanism for binding temporally distant information into a coherent understanding of ongoing experience.

Original publication




Journal article


Nat Neurosci

Publication Date





1080 - 1089


Humans, Brain, Hippocampus