Forum Archive - Week 12
With three weeks, we were SUPPOSED to get creativity, emotions and personality, learning and memory, and the I-function. Well, frogs turn out to have something to do with creativity, and sleep/wake with emotions ... and maybe personality? And both have tell us a little more about the I-function? What do you think? Are we on course, or have we left out important things about creativity, emotions/personality?
Subject: The Frog
Date: Fri Apr 20 14:45:28 EDT 2001
Thinking back to the frog and her pattern of response to the 4 conditions. Though the conditions were varied on the 4 trials, she showed similar amounts of response variability on the first 3 trials. However, the response variability DECREASED when the environment was enriched. Did that strike anyone else as odd? Why would an enriched environment lead to less variability in output rather than more? I wonder if that same pattern of results holds true for other frogs...I mean, is this pattern of varibility and response to environment a matter of "personality" in the frog, or do all frogs exhibit about that much variability in response and that kind of decrease in the face of a changed environment?
Subject: "I" function
Date: Sat Apr 21 12:00:54 EDT 2001
It was really interesting to find out that the brain does so many things without the "I" function even knowing it. I always thought I had most of the control over my brain. Maybe we have become so accustomed to having our brain do most of the work that my "I" function would have never realized it's enslavement, had we not discussed it in class. I really want to learn more about the relationship between the "I" function and the brain. Can we control our brain in any manner? What is the "I" function any good for? I feel so inferior to my brain right now. It seems like every human being is born with a brain only and the brain creates the "I" function through experiences. Do we need our bodies for the creation of the "I" function? If our brains were taken out of our bodies would an "I" function develop? Where is our "I" function stored? Can the "I" function ever be destroyed? What happens to it after death? Is that just one more experience that adds to the "I" function? For the next couple of weeks I would like to discover more about the "I" function and what it's limits are.
Subject: the semi-autonomy of emotion
Date: Sun Apr 22 15:15:40 EDT 2001
Some questions occurred to me after considering the semi-autonomy of the Generalized Control Mechanism of emotions. I don't really know much about psychoanalytic theory, but from what little I do know, it seems that a major goal of therapy for emotional disorders is to focus on psychological causes of the emotions -- what has happened to cause the emotions that the person is having trouble dealing with. If the semi-autonomous GCM model is accepted, though, it implies that certain emotions may exist completely independently of any external or otherwise identifiable cause. Is therapy doomed to fail in these cases? Can it still serve a useful purpose? Can these cases always be distinguished from cases with identifiable psychological causes?
Name: Paul Grobstein
Subject: week 12
Date: Sun Apr 22 18:03:06 EDT 2001
Alright, let's see ... how we doing? With three weeks, we were SUPPOSED to get creativity, emotions and personality, learning and memory, and the I-function. Well, frogs turn out to have something to do with creativity, and sleep/wake with emotions ... and maybe personality? And both have tell us a little more about the I-function? What do you think? Are we on course, or have we left out important things about creativity, emotions/personality?
Date: Sun Apr 22 22:00:15 EDT 2001
I have to say that I am excited to learn about personality. I found the talk on emotions really great and am looking forward to Tuesday. I am curious to see how the talk about emotions will play into personality. I always thought that emotions had a physical link, not just a mental one, but as for personality...It just seems like there are so many things that go into determining someone's personlity that it is hard to imagine, being able to pin down the brain=behavior explanation. I always thought of it as as a mixture of nature and nurture. Is that true? I guess I will have to wait and see.
Name: Sadie White
Date: Sun Apr 22 22:19:28 EDT 2001
I tried to initiate a conversation with one of my friends this weekend about whether moods are determined by physiological processes or one's circumstances. It was interesting - she made several good points that I think speak to some of the topics we propose to address in class in the next couple of weeks. If our emotions are influenced (some might argue dictated) by the chemical signals of our nervous systems (as I believe they are), then how can they change so quickly? In another biology class, I've been taught that widespread chemical signaling within the nervous system occurs on a much longer time scale than synaptic signaling. How can this be understood to be the cause of rapid changes in moods? Or are even the hormonal signaling pathways that affect the nervous system extremely fast on our I-function's time line? Also, what signals the release of mood-influencing chemicals? Could one argue that one's external circumstances are ultimately responsible for one's mood via triggering pathways of chemical release? Or are these phenomena to be numbered among the myriad of processes the nervous system undertakes for its own - and frustratingly secretive - purposes?
Name: avis brennan
Date: Mon Apr 23 12:54:05 EDT 2001
I am curious to know how the class will distinguish emotionality and
personality in terms of brain function. It seems to me that emotionality
is reflexive. It is conceivable that there are individuals that have
certain thresholds for particular inputs, and when those thresholds are
reached, the output is an emtional response. Personality seems like the
higher order summation of these inputs and outputs. After emotional
information has been perceived, the brain is able to weave it all together.
For this reason, it would make more sense to me to approach the
problem/question of personality as the part of the I-function that is a
constellation of memory, learning, emotionality and creativity. But
perhaps this would be robbing from the complexity and contained-nature of
each of these
Date: Mon Apr 23 15:01:43 EDT 2001
As Avis suggested, I agree that the "problem/question of personality as the part of the I-function that is a constellation of memory, learning, emotionality and creativity." It is hard for me separate personality from memory, learning, emotions and creativity. I think they all blend in together to form personality. So, I am very curious about how personality is laid out in the brain and how brain functions control it. To me, it seems like most every part of the brain would be involved in the brain function of personality.
Name: Huma Rana
Date: Mon Apr 23 18:01:04 EDT 2001
The discussion on personality is fascinating. In particular, I'm interested in personality types linked with addiction. In my Psychopharmacology class, we discussed addiction and the reward and withdrawal processes. What interests me is that of all the people who experiment with drugs, it is a select few (I've heard 10%) who become addicted. Psychodynamic theory explains this by the idea of the "addictive personality" with certain people who are more prone to become infatuated with behaviors. I was just curious to whether any research has been done to find an organic component of this "addictive personality."
Name: Christine Farrenkopf
Date: Mon Apr 23 19:12:54 EDT 2001
I am very interested in the topic of emotions and hope that we can talk a little bit more about them. Strangely, one of the passages on the MCAT I took on Saturday had to do with how both the physiological alterations of the body and the environment one is in result in an emotion. An experiment was done where the physiological changes were noted in someone who was "happy" (such as dilation of blood vessels and raised levels of certain neurotransmitters) who was located in a pleasant environment. When the person was moved to another environment (less "pleasant") and these same physiological changes were induced, she did not report the same feeling of "happiness" (instead it was a neutral response.) I think it is very interesting to see how emotion is really controlled by two separate entities - - your body and your environment. I would like to learn about research as to why people can feel sad/depressed/distressed even when they are in a joyful environment where they would normally feel happy.
Name: Matt Fisher
Subject: dreaming and the I-function
Date: Mon Apr 23 19:24:46 EDT 2001
I found the entire process of sleep very interesting. It is weird that in our deepest state of sleep our brains are most active. Does this represent the subconscious at work? People always claim their dreams show what they are thinking deep down. I think is explains reasonably well why the brain is so active during REM. The subconscious is no longer restrained and can take control. This would imply an inhibitory system present in the I-function when a person is awake. Being alert does not allow the subconscious to express itself and sleep prevents the inhibition. I would like to know the exact role of the I-function in dreaming if possible. It could explain where dreams come from and maybe offer additional help in interpreting them.
Date: Mon Apr 23 20:26:22 EDT 2001
Relating back to the emotionality/personality line of thought, I would be interested to know how people rate either of those in terms of any conscious awareness. As Avis notes, emotion is often thought of as more reflexive and contextually bound whereas personality is generally considered to be fairly stable in a particular individual. To what extent, then, might either of these phenomena be under conscious control? Or, as some theorists have suggested, where might we draw the line between cognition and emotion/personality/mood? Regardless, it does seem as if there is some sort of emotional continuum. It also interests me the extent to which emotions are a universally valid means of communicating. Just as it is generally accepted that there are basic colors that are recognizable regardless of language or cultural exposure, some researchers would posit that a similarly pervasive set of fundamental emotions exists. However, even if this is so, it does seem as if we are able to interpret and manipulate them in an infinite number of ways. Back to brain and behavior - is it the, functionally speaking, infinite number of neurons we have or the elusive and intangible "I" that can be given the credit for our ability to negotiate our social worlds?
Name: Elizabeth Gilbert
Subject: emotions and personality
Date: Mon Apr 23 20:44:51 EDT 2001
I agree with people that emotion is intimately tied to personality. When I sat down to think about how I would describe a person one of the first things that came to mind was general mood. Is this person generally shy, fearful, bold, happy, or labile? If emotions are a response to input as Avis suggested, then is personality just a function of relative thresholds for each person? If so how could this explain a person with Bipolar disorder? In one phase the person is very happy and manic and is exhibiting one set of emotions. Yet, in the other phase the person is seriously depressed. How can we explain the cycling of emotions exhibited here? Also, this model would argue that someone with a flat affect just needs sufficient stimulation to exhibit emotions. As far as I know, this is not been observed with people with flat affects. It would be interesting to phrase the question of personality in the context of these variable moods people can exhibit.
Also on the subject of personality, when is it formed? Psychiatrists cannot diagnose a personality disorder if the patient is under the age of 18 but I have seen cases of children that are only nine years old and clearly already exhibiting warped personalities (for example torturing a 4 year old and showing no remorse). These kids go through the mental health system and do not seem to make any gains. So the question is, can we really continue to say that personality is not formed until the child reaches adulthood? Or is it that we just have not figured out the right combination of drugs and therapy to unwarp these kids? Is thier personality ingrained in them when they are born or is it a reflection of experience? Can we undue the horrible life some of these children experience?
Name: Irma Iskandar
Subject: Emotion and The Brain
Date: Mon Apr 23 21:59:11 EDT 2001
On my first web paper, I focused on the emotion of aggression and how such emotion could be linked to the brain. In my study, I found that although many areas and neurotransmitters (one much honed-upon one being serotonin) were implicated as direct instigators of aggressive emotions, none of the results have been extremely conclusive. This does not mean that there is no physiological and chemical link between emotions and the brain - however, there are other factors that are involved which makes the case more difficult to assess - such as environmental factors, and how capable a person is in dealing with stressful situations, with decision-making times, etc. Although it was interesting to see emotion being brought up in the class, it was still difficult to know if what we have enough grounds to call this a purely physical process. I suppose further classes will help reveal this mystery to me...
Date: Mon Apr 23 22:04:35 EDT 2001
Sadie mentioned that "widespread chemical signaling within the nervous system occurs on a much longer time scale than synaptic signaling." But, as she also mentioned, there is no doubt that moods can fluctuate in a matter of minutes. And that drugs often work with amazing speed in altering chemical climates and thus mood and/or behavior. Is it possible that there are a number of different baselines in the brain, some of which overlap, and all of which play a role in manifesting behavior? And maybe some are more malleable than others.
I also like the idea of emotional thresholds as somehow related to personality. This suggests that there exist some fairly universal emotional responses to stimuli but that they are represented to different degrees in different individuals.
And how much of our personality resides in our perception of our past, and our relationship with and understanding of the "I" in our every memory? How, for instance, do people who suffer from amnesia recover their personality - must they get "re-acquainted" with themselves in order to affect their being or do they instantly resemble their former selves (minus the confusion)? It seems like in one sense amnesia would be some surreal opportunity to escape whatever parts of your past that haunt you along with any vices or wierd conditioning you may have, while at the same time improbable that a bump on the head could erase your every experience. Even if your I-function does not have access to them, it seems likely that some part of your nervous system "remembers."
Name: Alice Goff
Subject: Free will?
Date: Mon Apr 23 22:31:01 EDT 2001
I am also finding the discussion of emotions quite interesting. It is fascinating to be sort of excavating a skeleton of personality based on chemical structures and pathways. As Sadie and others voiced, I definitely buy into the belief that our emotions have a chemical basis. There is still something that is puzzling me which I hope we might be able to talk about.
So, our emotions are triggered by chemical signals. So far, we have dealt with pathways and cycles which are outside of our control, or the control of the I-function. In what ways can the I-function control emotional experience? From personal experience, it seems that we do have a degree of control over how we feel. I know that if I'm extremely excited or upset, I can definitely control these feelings and make myself calm. Just as when I'm nervous, if I concentrate I make myself relaxed. So, what element of emotional free will do we have and how much is regulated by environmental circumstances outside of the I-function's jurisdiction?
Subject: Emotions and Sleeping!
Date: Mon Apr 23 22:31:55 EDT 2001
I was reading some of the other comments and I was interested in the discussion of the how emotions can change so rapidly if they are purely controled by chemicals. I think that emotions can be explained by different pathways being effected by different internal and external hormones. Yes it is true that our emotions can change rapidly. But we can also stay in a certain state for a long time. Internal hormones do play a part in our emotions. There is a balance involved in these systems and when there is too much of one or the other a certain emotion is evoked, say sadness. But there are also external pheromones and hormones that we have no way of physically sensing but they effect our bodies as well.
Other than this point I also thought the idea of the sleep/wake cycle controling our emotions, partially, as very true. I do still wonder about something we talked about in the beginning of the semester though. The feeling that many people get when they are just about asleep, when they feel like they are falling and their bodies jerk and they wake up. This happens to me quite a lot and wonder if it is related to a specific stress on the body, or some part of the brain still reacting as if it were awake and interpreting the dream signals of falling, as if you were actually falling. It is a startling way to wake up.
Sleep really does effect your mood anyway. I think if you are able to naturally wake up at a certain time, it is better for your mental mood, because alarms are sudden and cause you to wake up for a REM sleep usually (for me anyway). I am really interested in this subject area though.
Name: Alexis Webb
Subject: "I don't sleep, I dream..." ~REM
Date: Mon Apr 23 22:42:42 EDT 2001
In class on Thursday we brought up a variety of topics that really interest me. I have done neurobiology research looking at circadian rhythms for the past 2 summers. The work my lab does is tied into trying to establish the mechanisms (both acute and dynamic) of circadian rhythms. Experiments are conducted by looking at specific genes found in neurons which play a role in the cycle. There's a lot more molecular bio and neurochemical jagron here that I didn't explain... but class on Thursday got me thinking about some questions that the work done in my lab doesn't even begin to address.
The molecular mechanisms of circadian rhythms don't really take the aspect of dreaming into consideration. What the "clock" is doing seems to be independent of dreams. Or at least, we don't know if the circadian cycle of sleep/wake has any influence. Yes, as we mentioned in class, the clock can be influenced by external stimuli... if I give myself a light pulse at a specific time for several days before I travel to London, I might succeed in advancing my internal clock, thus allievating jet-lag. But does this affect my dreams and my dreaming patterns? How tied to the biological basis of sleep/wake are dreams? Is there a chemical pathway that can describe what takes place when we dream? These are puzzling (and practically unanswerable) questions for me. My "getting it less wrong" attempt would be to postulate where in the brain and what chemicals would be involved in such a mechanism. There's a lot of ground to be covered from there.
Name: Nirupama Kumar
Subject: Who am I?????
Date: Mon Apr 23 22:56:24 EDT 2001
I still don't know. I heard arguments this weekend that we can't be responsible for how much we contribute to society because not only our talents and abilities are genetic, but our motivation levels are as well. This argument basically says that individuals are not responsible for the physical part of themselves and that the true part of the person is something other than the physical. I wonder what that even means if our personalities are largely physical? No one else is resposible for the genes we contain, if they define that is who we are and we are resposible for our genes as well. I just think that I-function must be physical and that it is a cop out to say that it is some undefinable. Still, once again I would ask for proof of this. How exactly does the I-function work to evaluate choices? Creativity is something I still definitely can't account for. I used to wonder how my mind was possibly able to construct novel sentences to form a paper..I mean where does that come from? Is it something more than pieces of old ideas stuck together? I certainly hope so. There are many creative ideas reached that have not been thought of before by anyone. How can we account for these?
Name: Van Gogh
Date: Mon Apr 23 23:22:56 EDT 2001
I've been thinking about our comments on creativity, I suppose in relation to frods and their use of unique movements at every trial (Harvard Principle of animal behavior). I was looking around my room and thinking about Van Gogh, as one of his paintings (copies) sits on my wall. Van Gogh was definitly a case for Prozac had he been born in a different era. His genious makes me think about the question of, Does mental illness make for creativity? How much of creativity is just not living up to societal expectations of what people should and will do? Does Van Gogh/others fit into this category? These are the things I've been pondering this week...
Subject: 2 weeks to go
Date: Mon Apr 23 23:29:28 EDT 2001
On Thursday in class I doubted that we would ever be able to cover everything we want to in these last few weeks. But after seeing how we could link creativity and emotions to the frog research, I think that we are on the right track. I am interested in learning whether we can also use the example of the frog to learn more about personality, memory, and learning.
I found the discussion on sleep/wake cycles very interesting. Since we all go through a couple periods of REM sleep each night, does that account for why we can have such seemingly different and unconnected dreams each night? Also, what about those people who claim that they don't dream. Is it that they just don't ever remember their dreams? Since we all go throught stages of REM sleep, does that mean we all must dream?
Why is the brain so active during the deepest sleep state- what accounts for this paradox? Also, I wonder why we dream. I think there must be more to it than just expressing what we are holding in our subconscious.
Subject: dreamin away
Date: Mon Apr 23 23:31:44 EDT 2001
In the beginning of this course, we read Emily Dickinson's poem concerning the idea that the brain must be larger than the sky in order for the brain to comprehend the sky. Through the first forum, this led to a discussion concerning whether the mind or the brain was larger. It's interesting how, after all of our uncertainty before, how most of us have honestly accepted the idea that everything is encompassed by the brain. I am still fascinated by the idea of religion (excluding many pagan religions), which defies the logic we just presented in so many ways. I mean, does it make sense that we can say that the brain is everything and that there is nothing else, but then still support the idea of a being that is, to many people, "everything else" that the human experience does not explain?
Onto the question at hand about dreams, etc...i have to say that matt's thoughts were interesting. the idea of sleep as a condition in which humans can release inhibitions raises questions about the I-function and its potential capabilities.... if dreams are the work of the I-function, one could suggest that the I-function is equally as capable of "creating" reality as the brain. this is an idea which many would find disturbing as the I-function is meant to represent awareness...it is not supposed to try to fool us. On the other hand, if dreams are not related to the I-function, then one has to wonder where exactly dreams come from. I get the feeling that we'll discuss this all in more detail later.
Date: Tue Apr 24 00:02:04 EDT 2001
Okay, so I am very excited to start learning about emotions. I think that learning about where feelings come from will help me start to narrow down the possible answers to the questions I've been asking myself since the class started to shift towards this topic. For instance, I want to know where love, hate, likes, and dislikes come from, but the more interesting question to me is where does amibivolence come from? What is happening in our brains when we can't make up our mind what we want or when we just don't care?
Another question I'm having is about drugs. They can make us happy or feel good - this is the result of a chemical response in the brain. And when someone is addicted and they feel like they need the substance, this is a result of the brain telling the I-function what it needs to make it stop hurting, right? But what about people who are not addicted to a certain substance but want it anyway? Like a non-alchoholic deciding that s/he wanted to just go out and get wasted one night - what's going on here? Is this the I-function determining behavior, or is the brain still for some reason telling the I-function what to tell the body it wants to do? In any situation in life where we are given a choice - which college to go to, what movie to see, which way we want to go on a walk - what is it that is determining our behavior here and why, or could it be completely random (which I doubt)?
That's all I'm gonna' ask for now. Anyone with any thoughts, let me know.
Subject: personality and emotion
Date: Tue Apr 24 00:12:51 EDT 2001
Date: Tue Apr 24 00:22:16 EDT 2001
I am really exicited about exploring the emotional side of the brain. I have been reading a lot of the comments, and am noticing that some of them suggest that chemicals are the only factor in our emotions. I think that it is a combination of a lot of things that lead to our feelings, and reactions. Now, I'm not saying that gut reaction is not controlled by chemicals, this can obviously been seen when you becomed frightened, or happy, etc. But what I am saying is that such things as likes and dislikes may begin as an chemical response, but may more so be a social response. I think a really interesting question would be whether there are some chemical reasons behind the social responses that the human race has been cultivating since its beginning. We are really just animals deep down at our core, so maybe even the complicated and variable behaviors we encourage and undertake are really just a result of a simple chemical reaction at their most basic level.
Subject: some thoughts
Date: Tue Apr 24 01:44:10 EDT 2001
on saturday i went to the zoo. the primate house was the most disturbing part of the day for me. a gorilla was sitting on the floor of a glassed-in area with hay on the ground watching kids who were screaming at him and banging on the glass incessantly. and i wondered how and whether the I-function of a gorilla is any different from that of a human. and how would we define those differences? the I function of the gorilla is formed in part by his experiences, as is the I function of the human. Research shows that animals behave differently in captivity, and go essentially insane if they are not stimulated. Sure it would be easy to point out differences between humans and apes, such as they don't build computers or communicate grammatically, but i still don't understand what it is about humans that lets us justify the way we treat other animals, especially animals which are so similar to us. does it have something to do with the fact that we don't recognize or identify with their personality. perhaps we just don't understand them well enough and therefore feel we can mistreat them. anyway, i know this is not really related much to what we are discussing in class at the moment. it's just been on my mind a lot lately.
Date: Tue Apr 24 01:46:35 EDT 2001
I find it interesting, learning about emotions and what triggers their manifestation, but more intriguing to me is the question of how we can control or change our emotions. For example, sometimes I feel sad for no apparent reason. Even though this can be explained in terms of chemical inbalances or more generally by a certain state of the brain, is it possible for me to demand my brain to do otherwise, or to ignore this emotion. Do we have any control over what our brain does? Can we filter things out as our personalities develop? Or does every experience eventually contribute to our personality? Can we mold ourselves into the person we want to be? What role do our past experiences play in our personalities today? How does our brain summon them? Through memory only? Memory is an interesting subject but we probably don't have enough class time to discuss it. But how does memory tie in with personality? These are some of the questions I was left with after class on Thursday and hopefully most of them will be answered . . .
Name: Caitlin Costello
Date: Tue Apr 24 02:35:11 EDT 2001
I also think the connection between emotion and personality is very interesting. The NEO Five Factor Personality Inventory, a personality test widely used in psychological research, measures personality on five scales, one of which is neuroticism. Another name for this measure is emotional stability; according to their temperament, people's emotional state is fairly stable over time, with some people being generally happier than others. With emotion and personality highly linked this way (emotional state being one way to define personality), it makes me wonder how much one causes or influences the other, or what about each affects the I-function or is affected by the I-function.Can we really regard personality and emotion as separate factors? Does it even make sense to draw a distinction between the two?
It has also been found that extraversion is significantly correlated with happiness--more extraverted people tend to be happier. This has always been kind of a disturbing idea to me. Presumably there is not much we can do about our level of extraversion; I think studies in infants have shown that from a very young age our level of extraversion is established and stays fairly consistent through our lives. So are people who are introverted doomed to a life of unhappiness? It is hard to separate out how extraversion itself affects happiness from how extraversion affects our experiences, which in turn affect happiness, for instance, extraverted people being more likely to get better jobs or have better relationships because they are more social, and those things leading to greater happiness. But still, the idea that our emotions are in part determined by something completely out of the control of the I-function is a little scary and kind of disheartening.
Subject: sleep, hallucination, and paralysis...some emotion
Date: Tue Apr 24 03:18:54 EDT 2001
I'm really interested in understanding the neurobiological basis of persons' experiences with sleep paralysis. I intend to do my third web paper on this because it is an experience I have very frequently and recently it has become more vivid in the sense that their are physical sensations.
I'm curious to know how a person who is a asleep can have the experience of their being someone else in the room. I think for me their is confusion in truly knowing whether the state of awakeness during sleep paralysis is truly being awake. From my experience, i am completely awake, but i am unable to move my body. However, there are times when I have experienced other people being in the room (or so I thought) and have awakened to fine someone there. Is there a way to have dreams (not daydreams that are controllable) while being awake?
It's very confusing for me to think about, so i'm having a heard time explaining it in clear ideas.
In addition, to sleep, I have been thinking about emotion and reading the responses and ideas others have about emotion. I agree with someone who said that they believe that emotion, learning, personality, and memory are connected. I wonder if this connection is visible through the mechanisms by which these processes function in the brain. Additionally, how does a disruption in one area affect another area. Is there one area that is more "powerful" than the other area? Another question is which of these is centered in the I-function if any at all?
Name: karen munoz
Subject: emotions and ki energy
Date: Tue Apr 24 03:43:00 EDT 2001
i've been thinking a bit about the factors that influence emotions other than the I-function. I've been taking a class on ki-energy and the body, and one of the topics we have covered in class is that of acupuncture and its relationship to the ki energy flowing throughout your body. The idea is that parts of the person (both physical organs and the unconscious) is connected through a set of meridians in the body. The meridian that is related to the stomach is that of emotions. the idea is that when there is imbalance in one of these places, there are imbalances in the other. therefore, if someone is upset, they can't eat. the basis of this system is that the automic nervous system is very connected to emotions. this also supports the foundation on which biofeedback exists. so, i've just been thinking about how much this can be true, and how much of it is how the I-function is affecting the way we perceive things. it's just always been interesting to me the relationship between the eastern perspective on the body and that of the western perspective.
Subject: Do you really Want reality?
Date: Tue Apr 24 05:49:50 EDT 2001
I think a look into where the "I-function" comes into the creative processes is the question I asked in class. When we look at those optical illusions we see what we see. The colours on the screen create images. A scull vs. a woman in the mirror. A face vs. a watery scene. Sure it's the same input and we can perceive two totally different things- however, we can not percieve the object in the two different forms at two different times.
I See the colours on the screen, I see the same thing, one was revealed to me first, and then suddenly I 'see' the other. But the labeling of the perception (not just the 'seeing' but the Perception) is where I think the "I-function" comes in. And interestingly enough, the fact that we can not perceive both things at the same time is actually an example of how the "I-function" may not be completely beneficial. In these cases, the "I-function" seems to have more limits than my actual act of viewing/seeing.
I'd like to also note that though what we perceive in these images seems somewhat random. (You saw the skull first, I saw the lady.) But our viewing of the object (even without the "i-function") has been guided as well. The way we perceive depth (height on visual feild, overlapping, perspective, etc.) and other visual cues, is obviously biased. And the "I-function" didn't do it. It's handy most of the time, and seems to be encoded in our genes just as 'unpredictability(/ingenuity)' is. Would we be better off without these biases/guides though? Obviously not, or evolution wouldn't have coded for them. So, we then have to rely on these things to perceive creativity. (So there's structure to it after all?)
It seems like a vicious cycle where we have to give up something for something else. I suppose I'd just have to assume that evolution did the right thing-- after all, that's what evolution is, right?
I'd like to just slip in a random sidenote now. This weekend I witnessed the effects (side effects?) of a perscription sleeping pill known as Ambien. I'm not quite sure if my friend was asleep, or awake for the few hours I guided them around. Their reality was completely eraticated. It was as though they were dreaming while awake. I have several friends who have been perscribed this sleeping pill, and they all adamantly agree that once it's taken, they hope that it works because it causes some strange, reality shattering lucid-dreaming.
What does this drug do? It's completely not the same thing as Tylonol PM where you get drowsy and drift off, this seems to almost force REM to be the first stage of sleep. Who's bright idea was that? I was asked things like "are we the only people in the room?" and "why haven't you called __(name)__ to see what the plan is for dinner?" at 5a.m. while trying to explain that driving to dinner is Not the best idea at the moment. I'm starting to question whether quick and easy neurobiological answers are the smartest thing to mess with when we really don't know what's going on up there.
Date: Tue Apr 24 09:18:46 EDT 2001
There is not a remote chance that something substantial has been left behind in the wake of sleep cycles and the frog. In a general sense, personality, emotion, and creativity are interrelated and dependent on repetition of simple actions. Emotions are a variety of responses to stimuli that typically follows in a consistant manner with regards to the nature of the stimuli. Personality consists of actions typically taken by the organism routinely. A myriad of reactions cannot possibly evade the study of the I-function.
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