Sunday, October 28, 2007

Brain hemispheres

By Jungian synchronicity I ran into a very good summation of the state of the art concerning brain hemispheres :

The references are:
"New Scientist" 22 Sept 2007 , "Mind Tricks:Six ways to explore your brain" . Item 3 ("A Brain of two halves") is relevant .
The issue should be available from your library , or try
Book : "Mind Hacks" by Tom Stafford and Matt Webb

From the article in New Scientist :

Quote :
"The latest view is that the two hemispheres have subtly different styles of information processing : the left has a bias toward detail , the right a more holistic outlook . You can watch a video of a split-brain experiment at .

Most people , of course , have a functional corpus callosum that shunts information between the hemispheres . Even so , subtle left-right differences exist . One task where the hemispheres operate differently is face-recognition . When most of us see a face , the right cerebral hemisphere does the lion's share of the work recognising its gender and decoding its expression . And because the right hemisphere is fed by the left visual field , that means we have a notable left-sided bias in our judgement of faces ."
End Quote .


Here you see the most powerful of evolutionary mechanisms at work :

The evolution recipe :

Make multiple copies , diversify the non-essential ones and reinforce the successful mutations .

One copy is sufficient for "business as usual" . The other copies can diverge and find more efficient ways of doing things without impairing functionality normally inherent in a single-copy mutation .

This is born out by experimental data . Analyzing DNA in terms of repeat gene-strings is now brisk business .
This is a partial explanation for the small number of genes (25 000) in the human genome .
Hormone evolution cannot be explained in any other terms , especially the sex-hormones .
If you examine the Oestregon -> Testosterone path , you will find numerous hormones spun off from this backbone .

An example will make it clearer :
A certain homonin group has one DNA sequence that enables them manufacture an enzyme to metabolize a tuberous starch (like potatoes) . Environmental pressures make the this tuber plentiful . Multiple copies of this DNA sequence are created all the time by the processes of cell-division . Cells and organisms with multiple copies can make more of the enzyme . They are more efficient and successful . Some of these sequences always mutate . Mostly , the mutation is not successful . But sometimes , it is . Now the organism can can metabolize a new starch . The food supply is increased . Those organisms with this outcompete the old ones . And so it goes .

An anti-example will make it even clearer :
MacDonalds is renowned for trying to bring the mutational rate to zero . Every branch must do everything the same way with the same ingredients . It gets increasingly difficult as slight mutations spin off and take hold ( King Burgers , Nando's, Spurs , etc)
This is called Intra-species competition : the same basic idea , but with differences that appeal to different customers , but within certain well-defined parameters . Cf franchises . Eg , you belong to the human franchise .

At some point , MacDonalds will have to modify (if it can) , or go extinct (bankrupt) . It's immense superstructure of control mechanisms can no longer be supported by the infrastructure in competition with similar , but more appealing firms .
A winning recipe becomes untenable due to competitive pressure and the inability to adapt .

Can you see the relevance to Empires and Religions ?

This is not handled by Maslow's hierarchy . Yet feedback organisms (including humans , bacteria , mitochondria) can die of boredom , or indulge in self-destructive behaviour for the sake of variety .

What gives ?

We sneak up in the usual way by looking at learned-helplessness . This is when the feedback into the neural-network is random . The "weights" assigned to the output is randomized , even where they have been established . The organism cannot react to anything . See http//
This is true for anything using neuralnetworks . Cockroaches to computers .

Ok, that is understandable .

Now , let the feedback be non-random . The neural weights can then only assume values within certain boundaries . The values within these boundaries are discrete (the logic comes from from synaptic levels) . Pauli's principle comes into play . There are a finite number quantum states any system can have .

If this number is exceeded , the system becomes bored and assignes values to the new item outside of the existing set of values .

The more civilized , the smaller the number of acceptable quantum-states . The more likely revolution .

Boredom and boredom breaking is thus a mechanism that flows from subatomic and quantum arguments .

The above argument is relative . Notice that the number of quantum states acceptable to an entitity might be very small
("I can't wear these shoes to to the ball ! " )

So , electrons , protons etc can be bored . But they have a large number of possible states . Complex feedback systems limit the degrees of freedom . You , as a person , have fewer degrees of freedom than an electron .

Another proof of why a Theory of Everything is not possible . The moment there is a self-aware observer , the degrees of freedom decrease rapidly (it does not collapse to a singularity , but to sets of axioms that decrease to a singularity.)

So , the next time you get bored , think of all the electrons in the wires about you .
They are really , really bored . When all the quantum states (Pauli states) on the planet are filled , you will hop . The greater the degree of interconnectivity , the smaller the number free quantum states .


But of course , you need not wait until all the Pauli states are filled . Little bubbles of filled states will pop up all over the place , in statistically meaningful ways .

The little bubbles will inflate to create Turing self-aware entities .That's you , if you have'nt noticed .


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