Predictions, desires, or intentions have recently shown to strongly influence behavior, adaptation, and learning. These anticipations influence behavior mediating decision making and action execution as well as attention. Although it is not the future itself that influences the present but the anticipated future states or future properties, the difference to purely stimulus‐driven behavior and learning is highly significant. Recent analyses investigate under which environmental properties which type of anticipatory mechanism is helpful to improve behavior. Vice versa, since anticipatory mechanisms also bias attention, future sensory processing and thus future learning capabilities are immediately influenced by current anticipations. The impact on the understanding of the world, social systems, human learning and understanding, as well as education principles might be immense. The perspective of expectation and purpose as part of the cause in the general case might have been underestimated and requires further investigations and considerations.
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