One more time, a true story about eight ducks, all my friends. I approached, they were on the lawn near my path in the back. One reacted loudly, arose, stepped further away, and flapped his wings. Four remained seated but quacked softly at one second intervals. Three didn't move and were silent. The reactor sat back down.
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1) Clients (mothers, children, husbands, and wives, even your sister) usually seek a "why" for a particular difficulty in their lives. Kauffman's model (at least, this mutation of it!) helps. Betty is concerned about the lightning fast shifts in her child from "nice" to "nasty," Gloria about her teenaged daughter who lies when anxious. Many children (and husbands) seem to "know better but do it anyhow," a phenomenon completely in harmony with Kauffman's model.
2) Examples of lateral inhibition occur on all levels. Normal Science is something of a ducks' committee meeting in its functions. Peer review, publication delays, and advisory committees limit impulsive action, or overcommitment and sometimes preclude any commitment at all. Logical quantifiers, "sometimes, possibly, perhaps, often, usually, may be, seldom, rarely," are encouraged and may choke our thinking or encourage a closer match between our language and our Nature. Things are slowed. Kuhn's (1996) observation makes sense that "extraordinary science" is likely the accomplishment of younger scientists or of an older scientist new to the field. There are fewer inhibitory barriers from peers and from old habits.
The following quote from Howard Bloom (1998) is another example of how a group takes on some properties similar to those of a single brain.
"K.R.L. Hall was responsible for observing the difference in baboon and chimpanzee 'collective intelligence.' He pointed out how far less easily an individual baboon solves problems than does an individual chimpanzee, yet how very much more adaptive are baboon troops than bands of chimps."
Finally, genetic influences on behavior seem consistent (as they must be!)with Kauffman's model. Mike Bailey (1997, p219) remarks . "...whether genetic variation is attributable to a small number of genes of large effect or a large number of genes of small effect. Although this question is difficult to answer definitively, most evidence is consistent with the many genes possibility." Thus, there is species stability but within ranges that allow evolutionary change in response to selective pressures.
3) Closer observation produces more awareness of changes in water as it warms. This effect, of boundaries disappearing when we move closer to an event, is common in science. Look at the white line on the edge of a road; it's sharp at distances past 5 feet. Then move your eyes within 6 inches of the line; you become more aware of its jagged nature. Phase transitions, like water or asphalt lines, are more dramatic with a useful distance from the phenomenon being examined (and may be a gift of our sensory mechanisms). This process will be evident when we examine psychological phenomena. The suggestion will be presented that expanding the narrow, subjective range of a phase shift is often a sign of psychological health and a function of alliances such as friendships or psychotherapy.
4) Nature underpins every digital event with analog mechanisms. Still, the notion that anxiety is a precursor event for many disorders could be misleading. The Kauffman model suggests that graded variations in response intensity are a function of logic "bias," also known as "P," in the interconnections between units. A predominance of "and" and "or" connections encourage stasis, a predominance of other logical connections encourage chaos. Again, binary response modes are more likely attributable to a failure of cross talk -- excitatory or inhibitory -- between decisions units. Difficulties in logic bias may not always generate greater autonomy of cognitive or behavioral subassemblies.
5) Ethical attorneys advise, many states require, a waiting period before divorce actions are filed. Anger subsides and the warring parties often move closer to a phase transition where they regain access to optimism about their partner and see the likely costs of separation more clearly.
6) There are endless examples of phase transitions and people living on either side of the slope. A child sent to time out has the chance to calm. Editorial reviews or simply tossing a manuscript aside erodes the near-immutable conviction of its greatness. Things that are glorious or awful move back sometimes to drab and usually to manageable. It took years for teachers to notice attention deficit disorder as a legitimate disability, there was a brief interval of interest, skepticism, and cooperation. Now it seems all of them pick it up as their first working hypothesis when a kid scratches. I predict that children's bipolar disorder will have a similar trajectory for acceptance. Once BPD kicks off, teachers and physicians may slide back towards the phase transition, the Maybe Range about ADHD.
Approach Avoidance Conflict (Miller, 1959) is a sterling example of a phase transition. A creature will usually approach a goal that has both attractions and costs. Getting nearer to the goal elicits less of a graduated slowing and more of a sudden stop, as the intensity of "fear" surpasses attraction. While we may not "know" what occurs in the perceptual world of a rat, all of us can identify with one that exhibits approach avoidance conflict. Our conflicts may involve talking to strangers, proposing to a girl, or changing a job instead of taking animal chow from an electrified cup. Nonetheless, we make a decision, charge into it, then freeze, reacting "My gawd, what am I doing?" The interval of hesitation, the point of stopping is where creative options are explored mentally or by taking a left turn and escaping the conflict situation. I suspect that a lot of marriages are entered less because of the partner's commitment but because their alliances with families and friends prevent decision changes.
7) Even when there is no physiological impairment, infatuation is more likely towards any consistent source of nurturance. The same power resides with an attentive waitress, especially one who meets Symons-Buss standards, at the end of a long day. Kauffman's model predicts that she is far more attractive when you're hungry and tired than at other moments. She is also more apt to be attractive if your spouse routinely berates your or if the kids are sick.
8) I remember the "Yerkes Dodson" law from graduate school, a bell-curve that described performance as a function of arousal level. Increased pressure (drive, motivation, incentive) and incentives (sex, food) produced better performance that peaked and eroded with further increases in motivation. The curve was always neatly drawn with the peak in midrange and trailing slopes off to either side. Platonism strikes everywhere! A better representation might have been derived from Kauffman's observations, with a plateau on either side of a relatively narrow transition zone between too little and too much motivation.
9) The behavioral trait of impulsiveness has been associated with economic underachievement, conduct disorder, suicidality, and earlier death whether from lack of self care or from accidental causes.
10) "Mindreading" is a special phenomenon. We seem to have adaptations for classifying many facial expressions and for detecting insincerity. We probably can "read" each other's minds a fair portion of the time. However, a phase transition (positive or negative) in our trust may activate concurrent shifts in our perceptual bias, a phase transition in the kinds of information that we accept or ignore, a reduction in the complexity of information that is available.
11) Hypomania presents special challenges. "Winning" seems important to most of us and is extraordinarily important to a few of us. Dopamine has been implicated in reward systems and the high motor activity of mania suggests difficulties with the handling of dopamine. We then have an explanatory dilemma. We can plausibly hang the disorder on chemistry. However, I recall a few rhesus acting in ways to suggest an environmental contribution. There are two relevant schedules of reinforcement here. A variable interval (VI) schedule makes reward available at random intervals; responding quickly does little to increase the amount of reinforcement gained. Most rats and rhesus press the response key at a moderately slow rate, seeming to conserve energy while getting all the goodies. Variable ratio (VR) schedules make rewards contingent strictly on the number of responses emitted, although the exact count varies from reward to reward. VR schedules generate high response rates (several per second with little resting after reinforcement). A few critters, however, respond at a constant, high rate on a VI schedule. Given the minimal delay between a response and reward, an appearance is given that the subject has an "idea" that speed is essential. Unless the subject sometimes responds slowly, high rate responding is maintained on a VI contingency. Some manics appear to copy these phenomena. They perpetually "go" and bounce through situations, gaining rewards with more effort than strictly needed. They exhaust themselves, perhaps hooked foolishly into a ratio pattern when life is filled with interval contingencies. It could be that dopamine turnover creates high rate behavior in the first place, behavior that is maintained adventitiously.
12) Unfortunately, Depressed Petey can be grandiose and manic on a little Prozac or St John's Wort. (Yes, Virginia, SJW can induce mania!)
13) There has been cant for a decade that ADHD kids can pay attention when they "want to" or if "they are interested." The notion of Psychological Adaptations in combination with a good behavioral family history makes it highly predictable when kids are more likely to "want to."
14) Many parents and some clinicians react to "time out" as if it were demeaning or punitive. The operant people established decades ago that a delay in reinforcement of in the opportunity to earn rewards have functional properties of punishment. However, the subtle blessing of timeout, a blessing that can extend across a lifetime, is that it allows the child to regain Maybe. I once heard of a nunnery with a creative time out approach to quarrels between students. The combatants would be put together in a small, dim chamber, and required to stay there until they completed a 3000 piece jigsaw puzzle.
15) Dysthymia is notoriously difficult to treat. Selective inhibition of serotonin reuptake -- a step that often is correlated with the client's experiencing increased self-esteem and less guilt -- sometimes leads to a "don't care" attitude but no increase in assertive or problem-solving behavior. The complainer complains less but doesn't necessarily take steps to defend him/herself. Dramatic, "hypomanic" periods can develop when the client works in an area of talent at the same time they take an antidepressant. Great alertness, energy, and optimism develop as victories accrue. Indeed, people who continue to need an antidepressant for an extended time may well be in circumstances for which they have little aptitude and little chance of moving into a leadership role.
16) Immature language, like immature conduct, seems characterized by digital meanings rather than analog.
17) Keller & Lloyd (1992) discuss briefly our attempting to build exclusive isomorphic relationships between words and objects. They seem to give it up as a bad gambit and conclude wonderfully that "...a relative looseness in terminology may be correspondingly essential to the maintenance and fostering of speculative multiplicity."
18) He is likely wrong that our ability to inhibit prepotent responses is the foundation for subsequent EFs because waiting is not always associated with powerful executive functions. Nature has many tricks to produce waiting. Even viruses and snails have their methods. Many creatures can "wait" on a fixed interval reinforcement schedule. Pigeons can wait most of a 24 hour delay before pecking for the single reinforcement available. On the other hand, if we grant EFs to pigeons and rats, then Barkley's hypothesis can be correct. Otherwise, we must account for the absence of our EFs structures in creatures who wait just as well as we do.