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  #21  
Unread May 24th, 2006, 12:43 PM
ToddStark ToddStark is offline
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Post The multiple layers of human neurology that make sense to me

Hi,

I just returned from a business trip in Seattle. Beautiful weather there, I happened to get 5 straight of the 60 rainless days they get per year. Anyway, when I got back and checked into the forum it took me aback a bit to see how interesting the discussion had gotten and then how rapidly it had degenerated from my perspective. I'd like to try to continue with the part I was finding interesting, and I'm not intending to slight anyone by doing that.

I think my own exposure to the cognitive neuroscience perspective has led roughly to a model that is domain-modular at a relatively low level of brain organization from perception/object recognition through social reasoning and domains of prepared learning (linguist Ray Jackendoff, "Patterns of the Mind" has one of the best developed arguments for this I think), then above that, a layer of something like conceptual blending (Mark Turner) that enabled us to construct images that crossed evolutionary adaptive domains, and rule-based heuristics such as the representativeness and availability heuristics that are so central to social psychoology and the various statistical heuristics that we apply under more limited conditions.

All of these layers happen effortlessly and automatically, meaning they represent our responses to things that we neither experience any effort in doing or any control over. Our first impressions, our intuitions, all of our "Blink" responses fall into this core, which I think is our default mode of responding to everything. I think hot cognitition is central to a lot of what happens, but I agree with JB that the limbic system is not at the core. I think it is engaged along with the heuristics as part of the massively parallel part of neurocognition that happens after feature analysis and perhaps some primitive object recognition (I say primitive because we seem to respond to typical "phobic" objects prior to noticing them and without a clear recognition of what we are responding to, and because some subliminal priming effects seem to require some degree of object recognition).

The dual process models in social cognitive theory (such as central and peripheral) seem to reflect one of the most recent changes in human cognition in our evolution, the point where we became able to learn to interrupt the application of heuristics under some conditions, and reassess our own thinking based on goals. For example, given the goal of accuracy, we often shift away from our default heuristics for the current situation to others borrowed from other domains. Pressed for an evolutionary rationale for this, I think my best guess would be that Bill Calvin has the right idea, that the accuracy goal became important for things like throwing weapons, and this helped shaped our subsequent brain evolution toward the more elaborately planned types of learned sequences that underlie uniquely human and primate behavior, as well as building on the mer fine grained sequencing of behavior that possibly underlies the capacity for syntax in the nervous system.

kind regards,

Todd
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  #22  
Unread May 24th, 2006, 02:13 PM
Margaret McGhee Margaret McGhee is offline
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Default Re: Damasios: Professors of Creativity

Glad to see you back. Did you get a chance to visit with Bill Calvin while in Seattle?

Your full post will take some time for me to digest to the point where I understand it. (I love these mini projects.) But, one statement jumps out that I'd like to comment on - perhaps because I've spent so much time thinking about this already - and because it's somewhat central to my thesis.

You said,
Quote:
Our first impressions, our intuitions, all of our "Blink" responses fall into this core, which I think is our default mode of responding to everything. I think hot cognitition is central to a lot of what happens, but I agree with JB that the limbic system is not at the core.
First, I assume we are still discussing the mechanism by which behavior choices are made in the human brain - and setting aside any differences we may have over the meaning of core . . .

Am I wrong in my understanding that the limbic system is where decision choices are made in all mammals (except perhaps in humans if you and JB are right)?

Doesn't your assertion imply that evolution would have somehow had to come up with a significantly different decision mechanism for humans alone among mammals?

Note that I have stated that the final nexus of decision choice for any behavior could even be located in the brain stem region since reptiles also make behavior choices and I suspect that early mammals added to that basic mechanism (by adding more refined emotional inputs) rather than replaced it.

Evolution seems to work gradually. Features are added or trimmed from existing physiology - but I've never seen an example of a complete replacement of function from one organ to another - especially for such a basic need as decision choice.

But if that happened, how do humans make behavior choices before their cognition first starts to become active - after mylenation of their neo-cortical nuerons occurs. Infants cry, smile, look at things, etc. Simlarly, how do humans who suffer from cognitive impairment or old age dementia still manage to make competent behavior decisions like eating and sleeping, to survive?

I ask these questions because they seem (to me) to so obviously lead to the conclusion that intellect is an evolutionary add-on to our basic decision mechanism and not a replacement - that it is basically the same mechanism that we share with all other mammals, just with an additonal data input path (intellect).

It seems reasonable to me that we would subconsciously create an emotional tag for our intellectual conclusions then, to be weighed in our decision computation along with our other emotional input channels - thereby preserving that basic mammalian mechanism. Smart people therefore, are not only good at reasoning, they have learned (developed a belief) that their intellectual conclusions are likely to improve their well-being and therefore they characteristically (and unconsciously) give those logically tested conclusions greater appropriate emotional weight than other sources in their mind.

I reiterate this here because it seems so unpalatable to you (and JB) that it causes me to wonder if I have missed something very basic in my understanding of the brain. If you could point me to that underlying misconception - that might save me a lot of time trying to support something that is not tenable.


Added on edit: After re-reading my post a few times, it occurs to me that my thesis is really not about where in the brain these things occur. I think what I am proposing is a model of behavior decision computation. I am describing the inputs, the outputs and the type of algorithm that I suspect lies at the heart of decision-making. There are many ways the circuits and regions of the brain-stem, the limbic system, neo-cortex, etc. could be wired to perform this decision-making function. I considered the where question because I wanted to be sure there was not something obvious about the known organization of the brain to preclude my thesis. But, where in the brain these things occur is not what I'm interested in proposing - it is this as if model of computation that I suspect is at work when we make behavior decisions.

Margaret

Last edited by Margaret McGhee; May 25th, 2006 at 12:04 PM.
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  #23  
Unread May 26th, 2006, 10:34 AM
Fred H. Fred H. is offline
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Default Re: Damasios: Professors of Creativity

Quote:
Todd: Anyway, when I got back and checked into the forum it took me aback a bit to see how interesting the discussion had gotten and then how rapidly it had degenerated from my perspective.
Yes Todd, I too have been somewhat troubled by Margaret’s lack of restraint. But then since she’s convinced that we humans lack freewill, I suppose her crudity—e.g., her utilization of gratuitous terms like “asshole,” “coward,” “bully,” “ideologue”—is really not all that surprising—It may primarily be a symptom of the moral vacuum resulting from her atheism (whereas your own “atheism” doesn’t seem to result in such a vacuum, probably due to your strong moral/spiritual background; plus your conviction that we sane adults are indeed morally responsible for our behavior).

Regarding “heuristics,” it’s interesting that the word is derived from the same Greek verb that “eureka” is derived; and that we humans, unlike other evolved creatures, are able to discover and utilize objective (mathematical) truth so as to thoughtfully comprehend the reality of, and even somewhat manipulate, our world.

As I’ve written elsewhere, there does seem to be an undeniable duality in our world—in computers it’s hardware and software/heuristics; and in humans we it’s organic matter and coding, some of which requires more than just algorithmic processes (since human understanding, unlike computer computations, isn’t constrained by Godel’s incompleteness theorem).

What seems to get confused in these discussions is that while the evidence suggests that primitive emotional/motivational/survival/instinctive systems do seem to exhibit a good deal of primacy, and do seem to be rather algorithmic, we humans are nevertheless unique in that we are capable of discovering and comprehending objective truth (certainly objective mathematical truth), which provides us with real autonomy and, it seems to me, real moral responsibility (and not some sort of incoherent “predetermined” “choice” that has recently has been hypothesize here).
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  #24  
Unread May 29th, 2006, 01:01 PM
ToddStark ToddStark is offline
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Default intellect and architecture

Hi Margaret,

I missed Bill Calvin, but saw Bill Gates. I think Calvin would have been more interesting for me, but my business depends more on Gates. The closest I got to Calvin was the University book store, unfortunately.

Food note: The Seattle area has wonderful seafood which often goes into inexpensive sushi, but from the several places I visited it seemed to suffer somewhat from differences in the rice mixture compared to what I'm used to in the East.


Quote:
setting aside any differences we may have over the meaning of core . . .
In saying that the limbic system is not the core of the brain, I mean:

a. architecturally -- it depends upon phylogenetically earlier and functionally more primitive or more atomic functions, hence

b. chronologically and

c. functionally

In the same sense that neural function depends on more "core" cellular ionic chemistry, cognitive function and limbic function both depend on more "core" neurology. If Paul Maclean's triune model is at least roughly accurate as an "architecture," and I think it is as good a starting place as any, then primate neurology depends to a great degree on an earlier mammalian neurology, which in turn depends to a great degree on what is going on in much earlier animal adaptations. Especially since it seems that so many of the good tricks exploited by very early animals are still being exploited by more current ones.

Quote:
Am I wrong in my understanding that the limbic system is where decision choices are made in all mammals (except perhaps in humans if you and JB are right)?
I guess I am finding it hard to think of "limbic system" as a coherent system for influencing behavior, it seems more like a layer of loosely related brain regions that served to differentiate early mammals from their predecessors. Mammals live a different kind of lifestyle than reptiles, and seem to have exploited a number of new tricks, but a lot of their behavior still depends on the same kind of tricks exploited by their predecessors.

My only disagreement with your idea is where I think it seems to imply that mammalian brain structures somehow took over the job from everything that came before, and I don't see that being likely. Similarly, taking it a step further, I don't see the expanded frontal cortex taking over decision making in primates, just adding new tricks suited to a further distinguished lifestyle.

Quote:
Doesn't your assertion imply that evolution would have somehow had to come up with a significantly different decision mechanism for humans alone among mammals?
Like most people, I'm very interested in what humans might do differently than other animals (and each other). Aside from more elaborate planning and sequencing at various time scales, and speciallizations like syntax that are possibly built on fine sequencing ability, and enhanced primate speciallizations like visual imagination, I'm not sure what else really distinguishes humans completely from close primates "architecturally." Our social behavior is similar to but far more elaborate than close primate relatives, and it seems likely that some of this is "architectural" as well, and that the human moral sense is unique in some ways as a result.

Those sequencing, syntactic, imaginative, and social reasoning capacities seem fairly subtle individually but together I imagine they can play an immense role in some domains of behavior, such as making an entire new layer of representation possible in creating things externally that reflect our imagination.

Quote:
Note that I have stated that the final nexus of decision choice for any behavior could even be located in the brain stem region since reptiles also make behavior choices and I suspect that early mammals added to that basic mechanism (by adding more refined emotional inputs) rather than replaced it.
Yes, that's where I suspect we are in agreement.

Quote:
Evolution seems to work gradually. Features are added or trimmed from existing physiology - but I've never seen an example of a complete replacement of function from one organ to another - especially for such a basic need as decision choice.
Ok.

Quote:
But if that happened, how do humans make behavior choices before their cognition first starts to become active - after mylenation of their neo-cortical nuerons occurs. Infants cry, smile, look at things, etc. Simlarly, how do humans who suffer from cognitive impairment or old age dementia still manage to make competent behavior decisions like eating and sleeping, to survive?
I guess I think of cognition as something that happens in layers from the ground up. I don't see it suddenly appearing at any point. A single cell does computation and engages in goal-directed behavior because, I suspect, feedback processes are fairly fundamental in nature right down into basic physics and chemistry.

Organisms with their own goal-oriented behavior exploit the behavior of individual cells and networks of cells acting on their own goals and their own simple rules. At a higher layer, the complex patterns that arise from massive numbers of simple rules at lower layers can be used to good effect. Actually. I don't think I thought much about this until I met Jim Brody, who pulled a lot of it together for me, but now it just seems to fit for me.

Given that framework of successive evolutionary exploitation of emergent behavior, I think the rest is details and testing particular hypotheses.

Quote:
I ask these questions because they seem (to me) to so obviously lead to the conclusion that intellect is an evolutionary add-on to our basic decision mechanism and not a replacement - that it is basically the same mechanism that we share with all other mammals, just with an additonal data input path (intellect).
I think I pretty much agree with this, given a fairly loose definitions of intellect. If I were to try to pick it apart to distinguish it from my own perspective, I would say that I don't think of intellect as a discrete functional module, I think of it as a concept we define for the purpose of telling people apart in terms of their problem solving ability in domains that are important to us, and behaviors that cross those domains. I don't think intellect is located anywhere, it is a quality we intuit and look for correlations and tests to better understand, but not something that appeared at some distinct point in evolutionary history. If we separate intellect into natural domains for reasoning, I think I begin to agree with you even more.

Quote:
It seems reasonable to me that we would subconsciously create an emotional tag for our intellectual conclusions then, to be weighed in our decision computation along with our other emotional input channels - thereby preserving that basic mammalian mechanism.
That's essentially what the hypothesis of "hot cognition" says, and closely related to the concept of "online processing" from social cognitive theory. One interpretation for example is that we put affective tags on internal representations, and then when we try to decide how we feel about something, we activate the internal representations, including their affective tags, which are then integrated into a summary impression which we use to make decisions. This becomes our "gut feeling" about the situation.

The thing that social cognitive theory emphasizes is that the activation and summary impression are automatic processes that happen before we realize we are making a decision, so they guide our reasoning in a particular way even to create our initial impression. A lot of the experimental work goes into showing different aspects of this, such as what rules we seem to apply and how they are affected by different factors in the situation.

So in effect, we seem, according to social cognitive theory, start out with a conclusion, whereas we feel as if we are starting out from a blank or neutral position. The place where we might then use "intellect" in the way we like to think of that capacity, is to reassess our initial summary impression.

This view is why cognitive psychologists tend to share the normative goal of something like "active open-mindedness" where we distrust our initial impression and instead try to actively reasses important decisions. This sometimes leads to an emphasis on formal procedures for decision making.

An opposing view is that the summary impression is better than our formal procedures. This is where the two views are at odds according to their different ways of thinking about the same "dual process" model of cognition.

It approaches being a legitimate dilemma because there are good reasons to distrust the summary impression in many situations, and other situations where it outperforms even our best formal procedures.

Most of what we think of as intellect seems to be our ability to apply formal procedures well and systematically, but I think of intellect as something practical that we measure by outcome rather than what particular skills or talents we are using.

Quote:
Smart people therefore, are not only good at reasoning, they have learned (developed a belief) that their intellectual conclusions are likely to improve their well-being and therefore they characteristically (and unconsciously) give those logically tested conclusions greater appropriate emotional weight than other sources in their mind.
I don't find this idea 'unpalatable' so much as seeming less than useful, it appears to be a sweeping claim about the relationship of smartness and belief with no weight placed on things like the accumulation of knowledge, the significance of understanding, or differences in different kinds of reasoning or different domains of reasoning.

There's a huge literature on learning, competence, and expertise that emphasizes the domain-specificity of practical smartness along with a lesser significance for general procedures. For example, in most complex subjects, the specific way we represent the information makes a big difference in how well we can solve problems in that domain.

kind regards,

Todd
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  #25  
Unread May 31st, 2006, 01:21 AM
Margaret McGhee Margaret McGhee is offline
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Default Re: Damasios: Professors of Creativity

Hi Todd, Your posts are very information rich and they take some time to digest - but I think I'm ready to partially reply to this one. Just to be sure you understand my purpose, I'm not interested in agreement as much as a chance to explore your (and others') view of these things. My replies are the impressions I get from seeing your view through my own window. I don't have anything to prove here - but I suspect you knew that.

Seattle Sushi I used to travel a lot and have looked for good Sushi in most US major cities. Now that I've lived in the Seattle area for a while, Nikko's, now in the ground floor of the Westin Hotel downtown is still my favorite.

Limbic system Again, my interest is in the nature of the inputs and the algorithm more than locus. But I like to think about location to be sure that what I envision functionally could exist in that physical space and in accord with what we already know about the organization. Generally, I think LeDoux's downward causation descriptor is partially useful - although my definition of it is more elaborated. I am impressed by the refined emotional inputs that seem to be available to mammals vs. most other classes of vertebrates and all other living things.

Since all living things must be able to respond to their environment with behavior - then it seems that some final go, no-go decision ability must be present as an enabling element for that behavior. For any behavior to occur, a behavior candidate must be produced and a behavior decision, or perhaps a chemical equivalent of what we call a CNS mediated decision, must have been made within that animal - to execute that behavior.

Important stuff,
Quote:
As species evolve and ecological niches are occupied, it seems that there has always been a built-in need for a sort of evolutionary one-upsmanship. It seems reasonable that evolution would find the easier solutions first and would generate the more complex solutions to problems of survival most recently. The first life forms just responded in set ways to specific environmental inputs.

At some time an organism evolved the ability to select the most appropriate from two possible behaviors in its repertoir. I see this as a singular evolutionary event - a meta-strategy that greatly enhanced the survival of its organsim's DNA. That has led to all advanced life forms including us, where that ability has reached its apotheosis.

Basically, I see humans as an animal with extremely advanced abilities to choose from a very wide range of behaviors - by using a large set of weighted, qualitatively-different inputs and allowing a kind of outcome optimizing negotiation among them. Just how this works is what this discussion (and evolutionary psychology) is about IMO.
I think generally that more refined inputs in more advanced animals are processed at the highest levels (in the most recently evolved brain regions) and reduced to successively simpler emotional forces as they work their way down to that place (wherever it may be) where that go or no-go decision is made. This is a type of downward causation I can appreciate.

Note that I see emotions not just as synapse activity but as changes in body state. In the CNS these brain state changes are due to chemical neurotransmitters that are produced along with and in response to synaptic activity. The activation of a particular mental image can produce a flood of serotonin in one brain area, for a simplified example. There are dozens of chemicals that can act as neurotransmitters and much remains to be learned about how they all work. But, I suspect these chemicals are responsible for what animals with a CNS experience as the emotional forces that a) produce a candidate behavior from our repertoir, b) sometimes consider it in context and then c) execute it - or not.

Our decision-mechanism is designed to support our survival and ultimately our ability to reproduce. We are designed to respond emotionally to threats and opportunities we come across in our environment. We can't avoid that. The greater the threat or opportunity, the stronger the emotion produced.

Many of our behavior decisions are made without intellectual assistance (cognition). It's easy to see how the emotions produced by various subconscious inputs could be used to produce behavior decisions. Thousands of psychological tests have been done that have verified and mapped the existence of this subconscious mechanism.

In humans, I believe intellect provides the most refined inputs, furthest from that final arbiter device. I think we subconsciously and emotionally choose to engage our intellect for certain classes of decisions. We need to recognize the decision as one where our intellect can provide useful input - and we must be free from very strong emotions (like great fear or sex) that can inhibit our intellect - and we must also have some time available for a decision because our intellectual computer is restrained to sequential operation. Logical steps must follow one another so we must reason through a problem step by step generating partial solutions that feed into the next step and so on.

Our basic decision mechanism though is not sequential. It is designed to accept emotional inputs from a variety of excited brain regions and produce an effectively instantaneous output.

For the basic mechanism I imagine a threshold detector with several op-amps connected to the non-reference input representing the various input channels. Each signal is generated by a common mental image representing a candidate solution to a problem - instinct, disposition, beliefs, social instincts, etc. acting on different brain regions designed to generate those signals. But this basic circuit is representative of the function that I imagine occurs in there.

I think we inhibit that instant decision output for those behavior decisions where we engage our intellect - although we may still feel its pull. Then, after we have produced that slower intellectual conclusion we automatically reduce it back to an emotional value, weighted appropriately for the context and our emotional confidence in the calculation. Once we produce that weighted emotion, which is the effective value of that intellectual calculation to our survival as best as our CNS can determine - the final behavior decision is produced as a summation of all inputs, now applied.

I'm sure that's over-simplified but I suspect this is the same kind of thing that is happening in our minds when you describe,
Quote:
So in effect, we seem, according to social cognitive theory, to start out with a conclusion, whereas we feel as if we are starting out from a blank or neutral position. The place where we might then use "intellect" in the way we like to think of that capacity, is to reassess our initial summary impression.
I hope you don't mind that I am responding to your posts by painting more detailed pictures of what I am seeing. Your word pictures are valuable and have changed my view. I no longer see the final decision occuring in the limbic system, for example. I was just uncertain before. Now I'm pretty much dissuaded. I'm just pointing out areas of our respective views that seem significant or even just interesting. If I find something that seems significantly incongruent I'll focus on that - but so far things seem to fit OK.

For example, you said,
Quote:
My only disagreement with your idea is where I think it seems to imply that mammalian brain structures somehow took over the job from everything that came before, and I don't see that being likely.
I didn't mean to imply that. I saw (and see) the limbic system wrapping around older structure and adding some new specialized inputs to the same basic behavior choice mechanism.

Also,
Quote:
Similarly, taking it a step further, I don't see the expanded frontal cortex taking over decision making in primates, just adding new tricks suited to a further distinguished lifestyle.
This is exactly what I did mean to imply in my description. Most psychological brain models seem to start from the premise that our frontal cortex or some other human cognitive structure is where our special human decisions are made. That's LeDoux's downward causation that I strongly disagree with.

There are some other things in your post that I need to think about further but I thought I'd comment on where I am now.

(Anyone who wants to reply to this should read my addendum to this first, in the following post.)

Thanks much, Margaret

Last edited by Margaret McGhee; June 1st, 2006 at 06:15 PM.
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  #26  
Unread June 1st, 2006, 11:43 AM
Margaret McGhee Margaret McGhee is offline
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Default Re: Damasios: Professors of Creativity

Addendum:

After re-reading my last post I see a potential hole in my proposed explanation that appears most obviously in behavior decisions where intellect is not used. I don't think I have clearly shown the difference between a go, no-go choice for some possible behavioral response to a threat or opportunity - and the selection of one behavior from two or more candidates. Are these two different problems for the brain to solve? Or, are they part of the same problem.

For example, a nesting bird in the grass hears an animal approaching. Does it freeze and depend on its camoflage? Or, does it fly and leave its eggs exposed to the hunter? Freezing and flying can be seen as two possible responses to the bird's avoiding predators while nesting behavior that could be selected by the circumstances and provided by instincts. A predatory bird flying overhead could induce freezing while loud rustling in the grass nearby could induce fleeing to draw the predator away from the nest. Some birds have even evolved a faking an injury behavior to make that more likely.

In any case, it seems to me that the instinctive behavior selection mechanism doesn't have much creative ability to select from a menu of options - other than simply matching perceived threats with responses - like a lookup table. In computers those can take up a lot of space but they are fast and deterministic. Their utility is dependant on a good ability to discriminate between different threats and probably works best for threats that are easily recognized by the organsim's perceptual tools.

Some advanced behavior selection takes place however in some animals that we would classify as non-intellectual. Baby birds are known to freeze at the sight of any bird flying overhead. As a chick matures it learns that only some overhead outline shapes, flying patterns, wing beat frequency, etc. are dangerous - I'd conclude that a form of belief is developed in their mind (learning) that can be used to provide more effective behavior selection by over-riding instinctive responses in some cases.

I see this belief mechanism as the probable evolutionary predecessor to intellectual reasoning. It was added to make instinctive responses more discriminating - which means that more effective and less costly behaviors could be selected in some cases, while still preserving the greater safety of immediate instinctive response to danger offered by the lookup table. I suspect also that it operates in a similar way in that any overhead outline probably induces a freeze response for a nesting bird - but a short time later, if it's a safe outline, that response is cancelled.

So, to provisionally answer my own question - right now I'd say that . .

a) Instinct works in a way that specific recognizeable threats that reach a threshold for action induce set responses - like from a threat / response list. The first one that reaches that level takes over the organism and probably inhibits any others that may be almost at that level. Fight or submit responses, for example, in dogs. Once one is selected it is very hard to get them to switch. There may be a lot of hysteresis in instinctive behavior choice.

b) More advanced animals have some ability to modify or cancel those responses, even before they are executed, according to learned beliefs about the world - which makes them more efficient organisms. In simpler animals these are simple emotional associations but perform the same function that actual beliefs that have both cognitive and emotional dimensions do in humans. In both cases, animals with decision mechanisms sensitive to the emotions of beliefs, are better able to thrive in the face of threats and opportunities, and expend less energy to do it.

c) Even more advanced animals have an emotional ability to ask what if questions about their possible responses that are generated by instinct memory and belief - an emotional version of deductive reasoning. A dog's instinct may call for fighting another menacing dog - but they may decide (emotionally feel) after an initial threat response (that typically preceeds the fight response), that it is too big and menacing and therefore switch to submit mode. This seems also to be a form of belief mechanism (association) at work. Growing dogs learn that they get their butts kicked by the bigger, meaner adversaries.

d) And even smarter animals can create new behavior candidates for consideration - inductive reasoning - and then ask what if questions about each one and arrive at a conceptual best choice. This, even while their instincts, beliefs, etc. may be emotionally urging them to a different response.

So, behavior choice probably isn't quite as simple as I described in my last post - but is still plausibly mediated by emotional forces from instincts, beliefs and intellectual inputs.

I'm interested in these questions for the same reason that I am interested in locus - just to be sure there is some plausible explanation for these observations and that there isn't any premise-killer in there. My real interest is in understanding how inputs such as instinct, belief and reason participate in human behavior decisions - especially, to explain my suspicion that we use d) above, far less than we think we do.

Margaret

Last edited by Margaret McGhee; June 1st, 2006 at 02:11 PM.
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  #27  
Unread June 1st, 2006, 03:06 PM
Fred H. Fred H. is offline
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Default Re: Damasios: Professors of Creativity

Quote:
MM: My real interest is in understanding how inputs such as instinct, belief and reason participate in human behavior decisions - especially, to explain my suspicion that we use d) above [“inductive reasoning” and “what if questions” although “instincts, beliefs, etc. may be emotionally urging a different response”], far less than we think we do.
I’d agree that your “suspicion” is almost certainly the case for most. And even for those of us who have some appreciation for the primacy of emotion, and that have developed at least some aptitude for discerning truth/reality from belief/emotion, it is an ongoing struggle—downward causation—human freewill and moral responsibility—is not easy . . . isn’t it amazing how close our POVs seem to be, and yet you allow your emotions and competitiveness to blind you to that reality?
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Unread June 9th, 2006, 11:58 AM
TomJrzk TomJrzk is offline
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Default Re: Damasios: Professors of Creativity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fred H.
for those of us who ... have developed at least some aptitude for discerning truth/reality from belief/emotion, it is an ongoing struggle
This implies that you think you're one of the 'us'. Look again and see that you're firmly planted in the 'belief' camp. You have not shown a mechanism for your 'truth' and it's obviously wishful thinking. Your free will is still an illusion, no matter how long my vacation was .
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