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Thread: Is there any action or decision not controlled by instinct?

  1. #1 Is there any action or decision not controlled by instinct? 
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    I challenge you to think of any action or decision which is not determined by the basic goals of humans. Remember, the brain can create secondary goals meant to help achieve those primary goals. Also, habits aren't directly determined by instinct, but are formed over time based on what the brain does. What the brain does before it has formed habits is based on instinct.
    I don't know if activity in the cortex can lead to decisions which aren't based on instinct. Maybe various ideas collected based on instinct can be combined in a way contradictory to the original instinct.
    Mental disorders don't count, because they could interfere with the connections the cortex forms based on instictive goals.


    Last edited by NNet; February 21st, 2013 at 06:00 PM. Reason: Replaced "influenced by basic goals" w/ detmined. Sorry for the confusion.
    "It is the ability to make predictions about the future that is the crux of intelligence."
    -Jeff Hawkins.
    For example, you can predict that 3+5=8. You can predict what sequence of muscle commands you should generate during a conversation, or whether an object is a desk or a chair. The brain is very complicated, but that is essentially how intelligence works. Instinct, emotions, and behavior are somewhat seperate.
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    Genius Duck Moderator Dywyddyr's Avatar
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    Which particular "basic goals" are you referring to?


    "[Dywyddyr] makes a grumpy bastard like me seem like a happy go lucky scamp" - PhDemon
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    Basically avoiding pain and maximizing pleasure, as well as some ethical instincts and some duty ones, and probably other types.
    "It is the ability to make predictions about the future that is the crux of intelligence."
    -Jeff Hawkins.
    For example, you can predict that 3+5=8. You can predict what sequence of muscle commands you should generate during a conversation, or whether an object is a desk or a chair. The brain is very complicated, but that is essentially how intelligence works. Instinct, emotions, and behavior are somewhat seperate.
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    Genius Duck Moderator Dywyddyr's Avatar
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    Rather nebulous, and, as such, rather hard to "refute".
    "[Dywyddyr] makes a grumpy bastard like me seem like a happy go lucky scamp" - PhDemon
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    Quote Originally Posted by NNet View Post
    I challenge you to think of any action or decision which is not influenced by the basic goals of humans.
    I challenge you to think of any action or decision which is not influenced by learning. There, do you see how meaningless your statement is?
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  7. #6  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by NNet View Post
    I challenge you to think of any action or decision which is not influenced by the basic goals of humans.
    I challenge you to think of any action or decision which is not influenced by learning. There, do you see how meaningless your statement is?
    I was asking if anyone thought that the cortex could collect data based on actions determined by instinct, and then be able to do things not based on instinct.
    Although it is a bit pointless, now that I think about it.
    By influenced, I meant completely determined, whether directly or not.
    "It is the ability to make predictions about the future that is the crux of intelligence."
    -Jeff Hawkins.
    For example, you can predict that 3+5=8. You can predict what sequence of muscle commands you should generate during a conversation, or whether an object is a desk or a chair. The brain is very complicated, but that is essentially how intelligence works. Instinct, emotions, and behavior are somewhat seperate.
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    Idle stargazing, though one is cold and sleepy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pong View Post
    Idle stargazing, though one is cold and sleepy.

    Perfecting a floating sausage illusion with two fingers.
    Okay, why are people still posting on this thread? I know I gave you a link, because I didn't want to type all that stuff again.
    "It is the ability to make predictions about the future that is the crux of intelligence."
    -Jeff Hawkins.
    For example, you can predict that 3+5=8. You can predict what sequence of muscle commands you should generate during a conversation, or whether an object is a desk or a chair. The brain is very complicated, but that is essentially how intelligence works. Instinct, emotions, and behavior are somewhat seperate.
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    Northern Horse Whisperer Moderator scheherazade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NNet View Post
    I challenge you to think of any action or decision which is not influenced by the basic goals of humans. Remember, the brain can create secondary goals meant to help achieve those primary goals. Also, habits aren't directly determined by instinct, but are formed over time based on what the brain does. What the brain does before it has formed habits is based on instinct.
    I don't know if activity in the cortex can lead to decisions which aren't based on instinct. Maybe various ideas collected based on instinct can be combined in a way contradictory to the original instinct.
    Mental disorders don't count, because they could interfere with the connections the cortex forms based on instictive goals.
    From observing foals from the moment of birth, I observe that they only seem to have two 'instincts', that of making sucking faces and getting to their feet. Even these may not be instinctive for I observe that the mare licks her lips (which the foal tries to emulate) and nudges him to encourage him to rise. Once on his feet, the mare has to teach him where her udder is and also has to follow him and herd him always to her until the foal learns to follow her. Everything else, the foal learns by copying and by experimenting.

    Humans are presumably not much different. I question what is 'instinctive' and whether all is merely action/reaction instead, leading to preferred and avoidance behaviors.

    What 'goal' can a human infant possibly have beyond maintaining physical and psychological comfort, both of which are learned responses in my opinion?
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    Quote Originally Posted by NNet View Post
    I challenge you to think of any action or decision which is not influenced by the basic goals of humans.
    Does jumping out of a perfectly good aircraft count?

    If it doesn't, perhaps you are familiar with the concept of whim.
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    Quote Originally Posted by scheherazade View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by NNet View Post
    I challenge you to think of any action or decision which is not influenced by the basic goals of humans. Remember, the brain can create secondary goals meant to help achieve those primary goals. Also, habits aren't directly determined by instinct, but are formed over time based on what the brain does. What the brain does before it has formed habits is based on instinct.
    I don't know if activity in the cortex can lead to decisions which aren't based on instinct. Maybe various ideas collected based on instinct can be combined in a way contradictory to the original instinct.
    Mental disorders don't count, because they could interfere with the connections the cortex forms based on instictive goals.
    From observing foals from the moment of birth, I observe that they only seem to have two 'instincts', that of making sucking faces and getting to their feet. Even these may not be instinctive for I observe that the mare licks her lips (which the foal tries to emulate) and nudges him to encourage him to rise. Once on his feet, the mare has to teach him where her udder is and also has to follow him and herd him always to her until the foal learns to follow her. Everything else, the foal learns by copying and by experimenting.

    Humans are presumably not much different. I question what is 'instinctive' and whether all is merely action/reaction instead, leading to preferred and avoidance behaviors.

    What 'goal' can a human infant possibly have beyond maintaining physical and psychological comfort, both of which are learned responses in my opinion?
    All of those things are meant to achieve basic goals. Those birds at birth do what they do either because they want to eat (a basic goal/instinct), or because those actions are instincts themselves. If they aren't instincts, then birds learn those as secondary goals or reactions (intelligence) in order to achieve their basic goal of feeding.
    The mare's actions are also in order to achieve basic basic goals, but they are learned and require more complex knowledge, or those actions are instinct. The mare wants to help the foal, which is an instinct. Without that instinct, the bird wouldn't know that it's supposed to help its offspring.
    Everything else is definetly learned, but the birds learn to do certain things based on their instinct to avoid negative things and maximize positive things. These two instincts are composed of many smaller instincts, which define different types of positive things and negative things.
    The experimentation aspect is a completely different instinct. It's curiousity, I think.
    Talking certainly isn't instinctive, but it is learned based on instinct. Talking correctly becomes a secondary goal, because it will make you happier at many different circumstances (and less happy in far less). The point is that everything we do is either directly or indirectly determined by instinct.
    Gut reactions/habits are also determined indirectly by instinct, and the way the intelligence part of the brain works. If you usually do something in response to something (because it usually makes you happier to do that), then your cortex learns to do that as a habit.
    Here's an example combining all of those ideas, and adding some. When you have to get up, you probably would rather sleep in. However, if you sleep in you'll be late for work. After that happens, your cortex will know that sleeping in makes you late for work. When you wake up the next time, your cortex predicts being late for work if you sleep in. It sends that data to the instinct part of the brain, which affects the basic goal (sleep)'s affect on your happiness. It makes you less happy if you think of sleeping in, so you decide not to sleep in. I think that's how secondary goals work.
    "It is the ability to make predictions about the future that is the crux of intelligence."
    -Jeff Hawkins.
    For example, you can predict that 3+5=8. You can predict what sequence of muscle commands you should generate during a conversation, or whether an object is a desk or a chair. The brain is very complicated, but that is essentially how intelligence works. Instinct, emotions, and behavior are somewhat seperate.
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    Northern Horse Whisperer Moderator scheherazade's Avatar
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    Interesting reply, NNet.

    Prior to spending a lot of time working with several animal species, I used to accept that most of what they did, they did from instinct and that humans also have a considerable number of instincts.

    The more I have observed, the more I have moved from that position and I now hypothesize that almost everything is learned by observation and emulation and that we then are able to extrapolate from previous experience and project our behavior in circumstances yet to be encountered.

    About the only 'instinct' I observe is the desire to 'stay alive'. Just my thoughts on the matter and people are welcome to demonstrate otherwise.

    (Horses have to learn how to parent. If they have not lived in a herd situation, they encounter considerable difficulties in dealing with the new arrival. They literally do not know what to do and some are so frightened and uncomfortable that they will not allow the foal to nurse and may even attack their own offspring.)
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    Quote Originally Posted by scoobydoo1 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by NNet View Post
    I challenge you to think of any action or decision which is not influenced by the basic goals of humans.
    Does jumping out of a perfectly good aircraft count?

    If it doesn't, perhaps you are familiar with the concept of whim.
    I blame stupidity for that. If the cortex doesn't predict hitting the ground as a result of jumping out of an aircraft, it would cause you to want to because of several instincts:
    -Curiousity
    -Increasing adrenaline (which has an effect dependant on the human's condition, like most instincts)
    -Avoiding boredom
    All of these have an effect on the instinct of being happy. Of course, if the cortex predicted death, that would also have an effect. It's hard to explain how, but it has something to do the thought of dying (as if it is presently happening) adjusting dopamine/motivation levels, which in turn changes how likely you are to continue imagining jumping off. (Before you do anything, the cortex predicts doing that, even if it isn't consciously noticed.)

    If the person did that to kill themselve, they did that because of the thought of not experiencing all the negativeness in their lives. Avoiding negativeness is an instinct, which in this case outweighs the instinct to live.

    Cutting/the like is done because of instinct, as well. Self hatred, increasing adrenaline, avoiding boredom/numbness, or getting attention all fit into the instinct category. Note that getting attention isn't an instinct, but can be a secondary goal if it makes the person happier.

    I'm not saying we're automatons, I'm just saying that everything we do is an attempt to make us happier.
    "It is the ability to make predictions about the future that is the crux of intelligence."
    -Jeff Hawkins.
    For example, you can predict that 3+5=8. You can predict what sequence of muscle commands you should generate during a conversation, or whether an object is a desk or a chair. The brain is very complicated, but that is essentially how intelligence works. Instinct, emotions, and behavior are somewhat seperate.
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    Quote Originally Posted by scheherazade View Post
    (Horses have to learn how to parent. If they have not lived in a herd situation, they encounter considerable difficulties in dealing with the new arrival. They literally do not know what to do and some are so frightened and uncomfortable that they will not allow the foal to nurse and may even attack their own offspring.)
    If it weren't an instinct to reproduce, why would horses try/learn to parent?
    "It is the ability to make predictions about the future that is the crux of intelligence."
    -Jeff Hawkins.
    For example, you can predict that 3+5=8. You can predict what sequence of muscle commands you should generate during a conversation, or whether an object is a desk or a chair. The brain is very complicated, but that is essentially how intelligence works. Instinct, emotions, and behavior are somewhat seperate.
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    Quote Originally Posted by NNet View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by scheherazade View Post
    (Horses have to learn how to parent. If they have not lived in a herd situation, they encounter considerable difficulties in dealing with the new arrival. They literally do not know what to do and some are so frightened and uncomfortable that they will not allow the foal to nurse and may even attack their own offspring.)
    If it weren't an instinct to reproduce, why would horses try/learn to parent?
    The 'urge to merge' is part of the instinct of 'staying alive'.

    What to do with the issue, now that's where all the learning comes in and offspring of all species seem possessed of their own ideas on the matter. No two seem to follow the same pattern. Similar sometimes but never identical.

    Learned, not instinct, once you get past the reproductive stumbling about...
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    Quote Originally Posted by scheherazade View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by NNet View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by scheherazade View Post
    (Horses have to learn how to parent. If they have not lived in a herd situation, they encounter considerable difficulties in dealing with the new arrival. They literally do not know what to do and some are so frightened and uncomfortable that they will not allow the foal to nurse and may even attack their own offspring.)
    If it weren't an instinct to reproduce, why would horses try/learn to parent?
    The 'urge to merge' is part of the instinct of 'staying alive'.

    What to do with the issue, now that's where all the learning comes in and offspring of all species seem possessed of their own ideas on the matter. No two seem to follow the same pattern. Similar sometimes but never identical.

    Learned, not instinct, once you get past the reproductive stumbling about...
    I get what you're saying about the instinct to stay alive. That's an umbrella instinct, which includes pretty much every instinct. It includes happiness, which includes a bunch of littler things. I think if a human dies to protect its friend, that is an unintended part of the empathy instinct, so that instinct could be considered half out of the stay-alive-umbrella.
    I meant the instinct to take care of/raise offspring. Without that instinct, there is no reason for the horse to take care of its young.
    What you do with the issue is certainly not instinct, but deciding the (original) issue is instinct. That's why I think instinct indirectly determines everything you do.
    Two individuals will follow different courses of developing ways to deal with issues in several ways. Some are: environment, genetics, and what neuronal circuits the brain starts with (caused by environment of the embryo).
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    "It is the ability to make predictions about the future that is the crux of intelligence."
    -Jeff Hawkins.
    For example, you can predict that 3+5=8. You can predict what sequence of muscle commands you should generate during a conversation, or whether an object is a desk or a chair. The brain is very complicated, but that is essentially how intelligence works. Instinct, emotions, and behavior are somewhat seperate.
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  18. #17  
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    isn't it anything you do past the most needed things?
    watching tv/eating, when not really hungry/well basically our modern way of life?

    hmmm maybe eating when not hungry isn't, it could stem from the past.
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    Quote Originally Posted by curious mind View Post
    isn't it anything you do past the most needed things?
    watching tv/eating, when not really hungry/well basically our modern way of life?

    hmmm maybe eating when not hungry isn't, it could stem from the past.
    Yes, but those are all secodary goals (and tertiary, etc.) Each level of goals is based on the previous levels. I watch TV because a show is called "The Impsons," which I have learned to include funny things. Because one of my basic goal is to be the opposite of bored, the unexpected things make me happy. My cortex learns to watch the impsons, because the previous facts means dopamine levels in the cortex decrease when I have the option of watching the impsons. (The dopamine might then trigger a reinforcement process reliant on how easily the cortex switches attention.)
    One of my "secondary" goals is therefore to watch the impsons. However, I don't yet know how to turn on the TV without my parents turning it on. While thinking of watching TV, my cortex has the thought that pressing the button my parents press might lead to the TV turning on. I press the button, because I predict that doing so will lead to watching the impsons (which increases dopamine levels, and therefore I am more likely to act on my imagined action.)
    But the TV doesn't show the impsons. I get bored (instinctively), which makes my attention wonder. I see a dog and go pet it.
    "It is the ability to make predictions about the future that is the crux of intelligence."
    -Jeff Hawkins.
    For example, you can predict that 3+5=8. You can predict what sequence of muscle commands you should generate during a conversation, or whether an object is a desk or a chair. The brain is very complicated, but that is essentially how intelligence works. Instinct, emotions, and behavior are somewhat seperate.
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    Originally posted by NNet:

    But the TV doesn't show the impsons. I get bored (instinctively), which makes my attention wonder. I see a dog and go pet it.
    Can you explain why you consider boredom to be instinctive? Not everyone experiences boredom and I would expect instincts to be more or less shared by the species.

    What instinct would suggest that we go and pet a predator? We would require learned experience to recognize a dog from a coyote or a jackal.

    Take your time in putting together some details to support your premise. I find this quite an interesting conversation.
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    Quote Originally Posted by NNet View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by curious mind View Post
    isn't it anything you do past the most needed things?
    watching tv/eating, when not really hungry/well basically our modern way of life?

    hmmm maybe eating when not hungry isn't, it could stem from the past.
    Yes, but those are all secodary goals (and tertiary, etc.) Each level of goals is based on the previous levels. I watch TV because a show is called "The Impsons," which I have learned to include funny things. Because one of my basic goal is to be the opposite of bored, the unexpected things make me happy. My cortex learns to watch the impsons, because the previous facts means dopamine levels in the cortex decrease when I have the option of watching the impsons. (The dopamine might then trigger a reinforcement process reliant on how easily the cortex switches attention.)
    One of my "secondary" goals is therefore to watch the impsons. However, I don't yet know how to turn on the TV without my parents turning it on. While thinking of watching TV, my cortex has the thought that pressing the button my parents press might lead to the TV turning on. I press the button, because I predict that doing so will lead to watching the impsons (which increases dopamine levels, and therefore I am more likely to act on my imagined action.)
    But the TV doesn't show the impsons. I get bored (instinctively), which makes my attention wonder. I see a dog and go pet it.
    that sounds more a desire than an instinct to me, i.e. the desire to watch tv to increase my comfortably. instinct would be seeing said tv implode, and setting the curtains on fire = runnnnn.
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    Quote Originally Posted by curious mind View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by NNet View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by curious mind View Post
    isn't it anything you do past the most needed things?
    watching tv/eating, when not really hungry/well basically our modern way of life?

    hmmm maybe eating when not hungry isn't, it could stem from the past.
    Yes, but those are all secodary goals (and tertiary, etc.) Each level of goals is based on the previous levels. I watch TV because a show is called "The Impsons," which I have learned to include funny things. Because one of my basic goal is to be the opposite of bored, the unexpected things make me happy. My cortex learns to watch the impsons, because the previous facts means dopamine levels in the cortex decrease when I have the option of watching the impsons. (The dopamine might then trigger a reinforcement process reliant on how easily the cortex switches attention.)
    One of my "secondary" goals is therefore to watch the impsons. However, I don't yet know how to turn on the TV without my parents turning it on. While thinking of watching TV, my cortex has the thought that pressing the button my parents press might lead to the TV turning on. I press the button, because I predict that doing so will lead to watching the impsons (which increases dopamine levels, and therefore I am more likely to act on my imagined action.)
    But the TV doesn't show the impsons. I get bored (instinctively), which makes my attention wonder. I see a dog and go pet it.
    that sounds more a desire than an instinct to me, i.e. the desire to watch tv to increase my comfortably. instinct would be seeing said tv implode, and setting the curtains on fire = runnnnn.
    I'm using instinct to mean the basic goals of humans (including emotions such as boredom, which influences the basic goal of happiness). We instinctively want to be comfortable. From a technical point of view, their is no way for the brain to have desires which are not directly or indirectly determined by basic goals. I'll give a more detailed reply tomorrow.

    Sorry sheherazeade, I don't have time to reply today.
    "It is the ability to make predictions about the future that is the crux of intelligence."
    -Jeff Hawkins.
    For example, you can predict that 3+5=8. You can predict what sequence of muscle commands you should generate during a conversation, or whether an object is a desk or a chair. The brain is very complicated, but that is essentially how intelligence works. Instinct, emotions, and behavior are somewhat seperate.
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    isn't boredom the lack of instinct? emotion has nothing to do with instinct
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    I would think an instinct would be something like 'avoid falling'. In which case mountain climbing seems quite counter instinctual.
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    Quote Originally Posted by curious mind View Post
    isn't boredom the lack of instinct? emotion has nothing to do with instinct
    Emotion is automatic, just like instinct. They therefore both cause basic goals.
    "It is the ability to make predictions about the future that is the crux of intelligence."
    -Jeff Hawkins.
    For example, you can predict that 3+5=8. You can predict what sequence of muscle commands you should generate during a conversation, or whether an object is a desk or a chair. The brain is very complicated, but that is essentially how intelligence works. Instinct, emotions, and behavior are somewhat seperate.
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlexG View Post
    I would think an instinct would be something like 'avoid falling'. In which case mountain climbing seems quite counter instinctual.
    Mountain climbing is fun. It has to do with these emotions/instincts:
    -Adrenaline=good in some circumstances. (Maybe has to do with the next one.)
    -Achieving.
    -Curiousity/the will to learn and explore.
    Overall, these three basic goals can outweigh the danger involved, especially if the person doesn't think s/he will fall. If basic goals conflict, the decision depends on the power of each.
    "It is the ability to make predictions about the future that is the crux of intelligence."
    -Jeff Hawkins.
    For example, you can predict that 3+5=8. You can predict what sequence of muscle commands you should generate during a conversation, or whether an object is a desk or a chair. The brain is very complicated, but that is essentially how intelligence works. Instinct, emotions, and behavior are somewhat seperate.
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    NNet, would you say the actions of individual cells are controlled by instincts? I'm guessing your broadened definition excludes them but I wanna confirm before I go on.
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    Quote Originally Posted by curious mind View Post
    isn't boredom the lack of instinct? emotion has nothing to do with instinct
    Interesting because I think it's just the opposite. I think most extincts express themselves as emotion in just about every complex life from iguana to people.
    Last edited by Lynx_Fox; February 22nd, 2013 at 11:23 AM.
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    yeah, it's more the unawerness of instinct, like a safety zone.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pong View Post
    NNet, would you say the actions of individual cells are controlled by instincts? I'm guessing your broadened definition excludes them but I wanna confirm before I go on.
    No, by instinct I mean actual instinct and emotions only. This does not include any other aspects of the brain, I think. Anything else which causes basic goals can be added.
    "It is the ability to make predictions about the future that is the crux of intelligence."
    -Jeff Hawkins.
    For example, you can predict that 3+5=8. You can predict what sequence of muscle commands you should generate during a conversation, or whether an object is a desk or a chair. The brain is very complicated, but that is essentially how intelligence works. Instinct, emotions, and behavior are somewhat seperate.
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    Quote Originally Posted by scheherazade View Post
    Originally posted by NNet:

    But the TV doesn't show the impsons. I get bored (instinctively), which makes my attention wonder. I see a dog and go pet it.
    Can you explain why you consider boredom to be instinctive? Not everyone experiences boredom and I would expect instincts to be more or less shared by the species.

    What instinct would suggest that we go and pet a predator? We would require learned experience to recognize a dog from a coyote or a jackal.

    Take your time in putting together some details to support your premise. I find this quite an interesting conversation.
    That one is tricky.
    Boredom is an emotional state in this context, controlled by what the cortex outputs. Basically, emotions are like instinct except operating on your mental state (car left, road right), rather than the input (bunch of pixels.)
    If you know your dog won't attack you, then your emotions will override any instinct of fear. This does take learned experience, but here's the step-by-step process to learn this:
    1: You're just born, and rely heavily on instinct. You're scared of the dog, if the particular dog is predator-like and triggers fear instincts.
    2: Although some random/undeveloped activity in the cortex will make a difference, the main thing which guides your activity when recently born is instinct. You pay attention to the dog because it's scary, and soon learn it is friendly. This changes the emotions you associate with dogs, which changes your actions.
    Note that instinct isn't the only type of basic goal here. You follow your instincts to learn about the dog, which gives your emotional centers information. Based on that information, your approach will be "angry," or "scared," or "happy," or whatever.
    Summary: Instinct executes basic goals based on direct input, whereas emotions execute basic goals based on knowledge.

    Boredom isn't experienced by some people because of being imaginative, or because of the way their emotional centers work, I think. There are lots of possible causes.
    "It is the ability to make predictions about the future that is the crux of intelligence."
    -Jeff Hawkins.
    For example, you can predict that 3+5=8. You can predict what sequence of muscle commands you should generate during a conversation, or whether an object is a desk or a chair. The brain is very complicated, but that is essentially how intelligence works. Instinct, emotions, and behavior are somewhat seperate.
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    Quote Originally Posted by NNet View Post
    I'm not saying we're automatons, I'm just saying that everything we do is an attempt to make us happier.
    Care to offer an opinion on the action of yawning and if there is any connection to instinct?
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    Quote Originally Posted by scoobydoo1 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by NNet View Post
    I'm not saying we're automatons, I'm just saying that everything we do is an attempt to make us happier.
    Care to offer an opinion on the action of yawning and if there is any connection to instinct?
    I forgot about automatic reflexes. Yawning is an involuntary reflex, which can be suppressed, like trying not to sneeze.
    Yawn - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    "It is the ability to make predictions about the future that is the crux of intelligence."
    -Jeff Hawkins.
    For example, you can predict that 3+5=8. You can predict what sequence of muscle commands you should generate during a conversation, or whether an object is a desk or a chair. The brain is very complicated, but that is essentially how intelligence works. Instinct, emotions, and behavior are somewhat seperate.
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    Quote Originally Posted by NNet View Post
    I forgot about automatic reflexes. Yawning is an involuntary reflex, which can be suppressed, like trying not to sneeze.
    Yes, I know what it is. I've brought it up mainly to tackle the challenge you have posed us regarding "action or decision not controlled by instinct" and your subsequent statement saying that "everything we do is an attempt to make us happier".
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    Quote Originally Posted by scoobydoo1 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by NNet View Post
    I forgot about automatic reflexes. Yawning is an involuntary reflex, which can be suppressed, like trying not to sneeze.
    Yes, I know what it is. I've brought it up mainly to tackle the challenge you have posed us regarding "action or decision not controlled by instinct" and your subsequent statement saying that "everything we do is an attempt to make us happier".
    That statement I made is only true for "voluntary" action.
    Even instinct is an attempt to achieve the basic goal "survive." Everything the brain does is an attempt to achieve its basic goals, dealing with conflicting goals in some non-perfect ways.
    "It is the ability to make predictions about the future that is the crux of intelligence."
    -Jeff Hawkins.
    For example, you can predict that 3+5=8. You can predict what sequence of muscle commands you should generate during a conversation, or whether an object is a desk or a chair. The brain is very complicated, but that is essentially how intelligence works. Instinct, emotions, and behavior are somewhat seperate.
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    Quote Originally Posted by NNet View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Pong View Post
    NNet, would you say the actions of individual cells are controlled by instincts? I'm guessing your broadened definition excludes them but I wanna confirm before I go on.
    No, by instinct I mean actual instinct and emotions only. This does not include any other aspects of the brain, I think. Anything else which causes basic goals can be added.
    Good. Now consider the grey matter from a reductionist point of view. It's made up of neurons, each one doing what it must to survive.

    The basic rules of this game are elegant:
    (1) a neuron may branch out and connect with many other neurons,
    (2) a neuron may receive an impulse from one or more other neurons, that branched to it,
    (3) a neuron may only signal upon receiving a signal,
    (4) a neuron that receives no signals will atrophy and eventually die, and
    (5) a neuron that self-stimulates enters death spiral of increasing positive feedback.

    So mature grey matter is made up only of those neurons that have played the game strategically, in their own interests you could say. This cooperative game of survival thrives on impulse loops which exit the body through motor nerves, affect the world, then re-enter the body through sensory nerves, all to find however roundabout means of keeping coalitions of neurons stimulated. To a neuron, the outside world is just another strategic recipient and giver of signals, that conveniently buffers against deadly feedback. Of course cells don't have awareness or intentions; rather they're subject to selection by the game rules. The essentially dumb complexity-building activity of these cells, taken as a whole, is what we call "thinking".

    Largely hypothetical. But how do you like that rebuttal to "everything controlled by instinct"?
    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pong View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by NNet View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Pong View Post
    NNet, would you say the actions of individual cells are controlled by instincts? I'm guessing your broadened definition excludes them but I wanna confirm before I go on.
    No, by instinct I mean actual instinct and emotions only. This does not include any other aspects of the brain, I think. Anything else which causes basic goals can be added.
    Good. Now consider the grey matter from a reductionist point of view. It's made up of neurons, each one doing what it must to survive.

    The basic rules of this game are elegant:
    (1) a neuron may branch out and connect with many other neurons,
    (2) a neuron may receive an impulse from one or more other neurons, that branched to it,
    (3) a neuron may only signal upon receiving a signal,
    (4) a neuron that receives no signals will atrophy and eventually die, and
    (5) a neuron that self-stimulates enters death spiral of increasing positive feedback.

    So mature grey matter is made up only of those neurons that have played the game strategically, in their own interests you could say. This cooperative game of survival thrives on impulse loops which exit the body through motor nerves, affect the world, then re-enter the body through sensory nerves, all to find however roundabout means of keeping coalitions of neurons stimulated. To a neuron, the outside world is just another strategic recipient and giver of signals, that conveniently buffers against deadly feedback. Of course cells don't have awareness or intentions; rather they're subject to selection by the game rules. The essentially dumb complexity-building activity of these cells, taken as a whole, is what we call "thinking".

    Largely hypothetical. But how do you like that rebuttal to "everything controlled by instinct"?
    That's an interesting idea, which is very close to what the cortex does, and could be used in addition. In the cortex, neurons connect to other neurons which were active just before. This allows for prediction, because neurons activate in a predictive state usually before they actually activate.
    Not everything is directly controlled by instinct, but rather indirectly. What your goals are is determined by instinct (or habits, which are formed over time based on actions whichare based on instinct). For example, if you want to go mountain climbing, it's to fulfill the following instincts:
    -Adrenaline=good in some circumstances. (Maybe has to do with the next one.)
    -Achieving.
    -Curiousity/the will to learn and explore.
    Overall, these three basic goals can outweigh the danger involved, because the power of those instincts outweighs the instinct to not fall.
    "It is the ability to make predictions about the future that is the crux of intelligence."
    -Jeff Hawkins.
    For example, you can predict that 3+5=8. You can predict what sequence of muscle commands you should generate during a conversation, or whether an object is a desk or a chair. The brain is very complicated, but that is essentially how intelligence works. Instinct, emotions, and behavior are somewhat seperate.
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    Quote Originally Posted by NNet View Post
    What your goals are is determined by instinct (or habits, which are formed over time based on actions whichare based on instinct).
    I may be wrong here, but isn't instinct hardwired (for the most part)? Perhaps it would help if you clarify in more detail what you consider to be "instinct". Do you perhaps consider any form of repetitive action to be instinctual or a byproduct of instinct? Do you consider an addiction to be a form of instinct, or if not; how are they different?
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    Quote Originally Posted by scoobydoo1 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by NNet View Post
    What your goals are is determined by instinct (or habits, which are formed over time based on actions whichare based on instinct).
    I may be wrong here, but isn't instinct hardwired (for the most part)? Perhaps it would help if you clarify in more detail what you consider to be "instinct". Do you perhaps consider any form of repetitive action to be instinctual or a byproduct of instinct? Do you consider an addiction to be a form of instinct, or if not; how are they different?
    I think the hypothesis is poorly formulated. There is no way to test it. If I have a goal which is opposite of your goal, NNet would still say our (opposite) goals are due to the same instinct. It's just nonsense.
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    It seems to me that instinct was a term introduced to biology long before we had the understanding of cognition, behaviour, meurology, etc that we have today. As such, si it not rather poorly defined? Add to that the abuse of the term in colloquial language where it is often used to describe well elarned behaviours.
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    Quote Originally Posted by scoobydoo1 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by NNet View Post
    What your goals are is determined by instinct (or habits, which are formed over time based on actions whichare based on instinct).
    I may be wrong here, but isn't instinct hardwired (for the most part)? Perhaps it would help if you clarify in more detail what you consider to be "instinct". Do you perhaps consider any form of repetitive action to be instinctual or a byproduct of instinct? Do you consider an addiction to be a form of instinct, or if not; how are they different?
    Instinct is hardwired. I consider anything hardwired to be instinct, but not all of it determines basic goals. I'm also including modulatory systems as "instinct" even though they aren't really instinct. They cause basic goals, though
    Repetitive actions are not instinct, but they are caused by instinct. When you are first born, you have no habits at all, so your actions are based entirely on instinct. Once you start developing knowledge, your knowledge will be used to influence your actions, in a way which aids accomplishing your basic goals. Eventually, there will be some things you almost always do in response to a certain stimuli, which become habits. Instinct defines your actions (based on knowledge), and your actions define your habits, so your instinct defines your habits, so I consider repetitive actions a byproduct of instinct.
    I'm not sure about addiction. I think an addiction is like a habit, but your body/brain can become dependent on it. Or it could just be a very deeply wired habit, or maybe it has something to do with a basic part of the brain, which could be responsible for a different type of habit than cortical habits. Unless it depends on a part of the brain not included in this system, addictions are indirectly caused by instincts.
    "It is the ability to make predictions about the future that is the crux of intelligence."
    -Jeff Hawkins.
    For example, you can predict that 3+5=8. You can predict what sequence of muscle commands you should generate during a conversation, or whether an object is a desk or a chair. The brain is very complicated, but that is essentially how intelligence works. Instinct, emotions, and behavior are somewhat seperate.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by scoobydoo1 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by NNet View Post
    What your goals are is determined by instinct (or habits, which are formed over time based on actions whichare based on instinct).
    I may be wrong here, but isn't instinct hardwired (for the most part)? Perhaps it would help if you clarify in more detail what you consider to be "instinct". Do you perhaps consider any form of repetitive action to be instinctual or a byproduct of instinct? Do you consider an addiction to be a form of instinct, or if not; how are they different?
    I think the hypothesis is poorly formulated. There is no way to test it. If I have a goal which is opposite of your goal, NNet would still say our (opposite) goals are due to the same instinct. It's just nonsense.
    There is a way to test it. Just look at some detailed anatomy and some functionality, and the idea could fit or not.
    I wouldn't say our opposite goals are due to the same instinct, but rather the same set of instincts all humans have. I think you're confusing primary goals and secondary goals (two accepted concepts in the reward system Reward system - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia). Two people can have opposite goals based on knowledge/life experiences. If you haven't read anything like it yet, read post #11.
    This isn't nonsense, its an attempt to explain common sense. For example, not touching frying pans. Why don't people touch frying pans, mechanically?
    "It is the ability to make predictions about the future that is the crux of intelligence."
    -Jeff Hawkins.
    For example, you can predict that 3+5=8. You can predict what sequence of muscle commands you should generate during a conversation, or whether an object is a desk or a chair. The brain is very complicated, but that is essentially how intelligence works. Instinct, emotions, and behavior are somewhat seperate.
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    Quote Originally Posted by NNet View Post
    There is a way to test it. Just look at some detailed anatomy and some functionality, and the idea could fit or not.
    I wouldn't say our opposite goals are due to the same instinct, but rather the same set of instincts all humans have. I think you're confusing primary goals and secondary goals (two accepted concepts in the reward system Reward system - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia). Two people can have opposite goals based on knowledge/life experiences. If you haven't read anything like it yet, read post #11.
    This isn't nonsense, its an attempt to explain common sense. For example, not touching frying pans. Why don't people touch frying pans, mechanically?
    The point is there is nothing that could ever possibly happen that you would not explain as being influenced by instinct. Ergo, it is not a scientific hypothesis. "Common sense" is usually erroneous.

    Not touching a frying pan could be a learned behavior. How do you know what part instinct plays?
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
    It seems to me that instinct was a term introduced to biology long before we had the understanding of cognition, behaviour, meurology, etc that we have today. As such, si it not rather poorly defined? Add to that the abuse of the term in colloquial language where it is often used to describe well elarned behaviours.
    I include all of those in this system. This thread post #11, http://www.thescienceforum.com/new-h...tml#post395823
    Habits aren't instinct, but are determined indirectly by instinct. Post #40.
    "It is the ability to make predictions about the future that is the crux of intelligence."
    -Jeff Hawkins.
    For example, you can predict that 3+5=8. You can predict what sequence of muscle commands you should generate during a conversation, or whether an object is a desk or a chair. The brain is very complicated, but that is essentially how intelligence works. Instinct, emotions, and behavior are somewhat seperate.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by NNet View Post
    There is a way to test it. Just look at some detailed anatomy and some functionality, and the idea could fit or not.
    I wouldn't say our opposite goals are due to the same instinct, but rather the same set of instincts all humans have. I think you're confusing primary goals and secondary goals (two accepted concepts in the reward system Reward system - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia). Two people can have opposite goals based on knowledge/life experiences. If you haven't read anything like it yet, read post #11.
    This isn't nonsense, its an attempt to explain common sense. For example, not touching frying pans. Why don't people touch frying pans, mechanically?
    The point is there is nothing that could ever possibly happen that you would not explain as being influenced by instinct. Ergo, it is not a scientific hypothesis. "Common sense" is usually erroneous.

    Not touching a frying pan could be a learned behavior. How do you know what part instinct plays?
    It definetly isn't complete, and probably isn't exact. The most valuable idea is pretty obvious. There must be something which determines our basic goals. You can't just have a cortex which knows things in order to make decisions.
    I don't know what precise role instinct plays in the frying pan. Not touching a frying pan could be a learned behavior, but avoiding pain is not learned. The earlier is a secondary goal, not a primary goal.
    I don't have any biological proof that this idea is true. I can't do research on the brain, the best I can do is look things up on the internet (which I will likely do.) For now, this is just an idea which is useful in computational neuroscience.
    Lynx_Fox likes this.
    "It is the ability to make predictions about the future that is the crux of intelligence."
    -Jeff Hawkins.
    For example, you can predict that 3+5=8. You can predict what sequence of muscle commands you should generate during a conversation, or whether an object is a desk or a chair. The brain is very complicated, but that is essentially how intelligence works. Instinct, emotions, and behavior are somewhat seperate.
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