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Schmeltz's picture

The concept of "muscle

The concept of "muscle memory" raised some interesting questions for me. Because we have memory stored in the form of central pattern generators in parts of the nervous system other than the I-function, I finally was able to convince myself that a paraplegic dog does in fact have the ability to wag its tail.  Perhaps the dog has sensory neurons located caudally that respond with tail movement when the dog is pet; therefore, the dog is not necessarily wagging its tail because the dog is happy, but because an external stimuli is generating the firing of central pattern generators that produce tail wagging. Thus, I guess it could be said that the dog's spinal cord was happy and not the dog itself. Another explanation could be that the dog, in the presence of food, gets excited and induces a firing of neurons that create a hormonal output that generates tai wagging.  This leads me back to Christopher Reeves.  If Reeves became sexually stimulated would his brain activity generate hormones that then induce an erection?  Based on the dog model, I would say yes.  Can quadriplegics and paraplegics have sex?  

Additionally, in response to "muscle memory", I began thinking about the influences of drugs.  I was thinking about different eras of music, i.e. Bebop jazz, when heavy drug usage was common for the musicians.  I was wondering if a lot of the creativity that came from this era of music partially resulted from this heavy drug usage that I believe could have led to a detachment from the I-function and greater reliance on central pattern generators.  Drugs, may perhaps, have the power to inhibit the I-function and enhance musical or artistic creativity by giving the individual the ability to escape themselves and their inhibitions and trust the musical/artistic patterns and abilities located elsewhere.  We kind of touched on this during class when we talked about how in order to play a memorized musical piece accurately and convincingly one had to detach themselves from the situation and just let it happen.  I wonder if drugs provide one with the increased ability to do so. 

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