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gflaherty's picture

unpredictability...

            I feel like we have deviated greatly from the discussion we were having towards the beginning of the semester. With all this talk of batteries and computers, it seems as thought we perceive the nervous system to be much more cut and dry than it actually is. 

            The nervous system is not an isolated apparatus that produces consistent results.  It is more likely that the nervous system is a tool that each individual uses to connect to the outside world.  The role of behavior in the input-output box that we have been addressing recently is something that I have forgotten about. I believe that behavior is the key to understanding the nervous system.  As the Harvard Law of Animal Behavior states, “an animal will behave as it damned wellpleases”.  If this is true, and I believe it is, that the link between the nervous system and behavior is very specific on an individual basis. In other words, if we believe that behavior is the external translation if the nervous systems then generalizing the nervous system might not be too helpful.  Because of the unpredictable behavior of animals, humans included, then it must stands to reason that solely studying the nervous system will not get you too far. 

            To bring this back to Thursday’s discussion, the input and output of a computer is very systematic and predictable, within reason.  However, we have already come to the conclusion early in the semester that behavior is unpredictable and therefore, as many people seem to agree, computers and the nervous system are incomparable.  

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