Some time ago, I've read that the most significant people in a person's life have their own internal representation/model of within the person's mind. For example:
- An internal representation of a spouse
- An internal representation of parents, grandparents
- An internal representation of children
- Close friends, etc
This representation does not matter, until the connection is severed - the significant person dies or moves away. This is when there's no more input from the real world - only the internal representation remains. For example, it is possible to dream of an interaction with a deceased relative. My question is about whatever phenomenon causes people to be able to dream and interact with people previously known, while in a dream.
I'm interested if there has been research that confirms that people do indeed have unique internal models of significantly close relatives? If so, what is the correct term to use when searching for scientific information on the subject?
Update: In particular, I'm interested in unique internal representations - linked to a unique object in real life. Do they exist?
For example, there is only one spouse. Jane Smith. Has there been evidence that the internal representation of Jane Smith is unique (every single time Jane Smith is encountered, it is the same representation, possibly lighting up the same region of the brain if viewed with imaging techniques).