To reason about situations, e.g. to answer “what if” questions, we’d imagine/simulate a multi-branch process step-by-step, exploring most faithful/probable next step(s) in each point of virtual time, then get stats from ends of each branch and conclude some “useful” yet “compressed” associations among priori-choices and aftermath/posterior.
Come into my mind a possible architecture implementing the “control” (by spirit?) aspect in the mental simulation (movement along various reference frames) process.
Based on the physical hexagonal topology of neurons in mini-columns, assuming a physical area mapped directly as a virtual/mental window, serving as the “viewport” to reveal one part (of the window size) of a lager memorized image, in any distinct point of time.
Central area of the canvas works as the focal “fact” showcase, while peripheral areas accept feedforward information from the central area and restore/remember corresponding parts of the larger image from (synapse conveyed) memory.
Now Synaptic Gating comes to support the movement of the “viewport”, that some switch neurons would instruct the central neurons each to replicate how its neighboring neuron is spiking, the “control” signal is about exact direction and offset, so can be universal per each “movement command”, and it has to inhibit all synapses at other direction+offset-s. After the central neurons updated their spiking patterns (from its neighbor at the right direction+offset, the very neighbor can be either another central neuron, or a peripheral neuron), peripheral neurons are instructed to update again with feedforward information from central neurons as well as synaptic memory.
For each step such a movement (of the viewport) is accomplished so that the big mental memory (or model if peripheral neurons update according to rules instead of just memory) is observed at a different location.
The step sizes can be of a small discrete set due to physical limitations on how axons and synapses can grow, but even a tiny step size can just work well when repeated over time, just speed varies.
Effectively, it’s like how you observe larger content via a smaller computer screen window (the viewport), by manipulating the window’s scroll bars.
The “spirit” can just “control” several specific switch neurons to output its navigation instructions, though this sounds like an active version of Cartesian Theater, which is less a satisfactory. Anyway I don’t want to accept the thinking/reasoning process being some replay of recorded history.
Disclaimer: I’m just a hobbyist, it’s just uneducated guess happens to come into my mind, seriously lacking a scientific foundation.