Emotions vs Focus - Addendum

Kenneth Collins k.p.collins at worldnet.att.net
Wed Aug 21 01:02:44 EST 2002

[Addendum color]

Kenneth Collins wrote in message ...
>All of this stuff has been completely-explicated in AoK all along -
>and the Authors still didn't get it right.
>"Emotionality" is 'just' a 'portion' of the 'motor-side' ['effector';
>'outward-bound'] stuff of the neural topology.
>The "two parallel streams" are not actually 'separate', but are
>'just' "supersystem configuration" [AoK, Ap5] dynamics 'and' ongoing
>"configured-'states'". The 'separateness' of the latter is illusory.
>The 'brain' [nervous system] is a massively-parallel processor. What
>the investigators are 'confused' about derives in their not
>comprehending that the 'brain' works on extremely-many problems
>simultaneously, and only configures specifically with respect to
>'one' problem subset when, as I've discussed in prior posts, there is
>a need to exert force that acts upon, and within, the external

And any supersystem configuration is, itself, highly-dynamic.

>In such instances, motor-'side' 'interfaces', such as
>'language'-mechanisms, or general environment-manipulation
>effector-activation, are converged upon, and externally-observable
>behavior is manifested. The convergence upon 'one' problem subset
>occurs only because such is necessary in order to exert force, within
>the external environment, that is sufficiently-directed to actually
>accomplish work within the external environment.

And the 'one' problem subset that's converged upon is, itself, highly-dynamic.

>When the Authors employ what they refer to as 'emotion-invoking'
>stimuli, all that's happening is that the stimuli evoke
>relatively-high TD E/I, and the Authors look at the TD
>E/I-minimization dynamics that follow, and call such "emotion", but
>this's just not what's going-on in-there.
>What's going-on in there is that the 'sledge-hammer' stimuli just
>evoke relatively-high TD E/I, which instantiates correlated
>relatively-observable supersystem configuration dynamics.
>The Authors are observing these relatively-observable supersystem
>configuration dynamics and calling them "emotion", but they aren't
>"Emotion" is only motor-'side' [of the neural topology] interface
>stuff. It's the stuff that's 'added', within motor-'side' dynamics, 
>that's there as a means of communicating an abstract
>[non-specific-information-containing] relative-TD E/I to other
>'animals' which share the relatively local external environment.
>That is, "emotion" is, itself, 'just' another 'language' interface.
>[A particularly-vivid example is the "Infant's crying-behavior"
>example that's discussed, with its correlated neural dynamics, in
>AoK, Ap5 [which discussion extends right into Ap7 and Ap8 - due,
>solely, to the sequential nature of 'language' processing - in
>actuality, everything's happening all-at-once - of-a-piece].
>There are no "two separate streams".

Of course, it's a long-standing convention to treat 'emotion' as 'separate', or 'separable', but it's really 'just' more interface stuff that 'sits on top of' 'deeper' processing that goes on within the nervous system, and is [idelly] completely, and tightly, integrated with everything else that's going-on within the nervous system.

'Emotion' is the stuff of a 'primitive' 'language' interface that we share with animals [of course in a phylogeny-commensurate way - each species having it's own evolutionary-form], and through which, along with "facial expressions" [AoK, Ap4], and 'body language', there is a bi-directional communication among Humans, and even between Humans and Animals [although I don't expect anyone [except devoted pet-'owners'] to agree with me on this Human-Animal communication, it's existence is easily-verified via experiment].

What 'emotion' is is the result of evolutionary dynamics taking advantage of the relatively-abstract, non-specific-information-containing, but nevertheless rigorously-mapped-within-the-internal-frame-of-reference [IFR; the "special topological homeomorphism of the [central] nervous system"; AoK, Short Paper] TD E/I--'information' that's in-there, anyway. [This is extended to relatively-long-term internal-environmental circumstances in AoK, Ap7.]

The TD E/I-dynamics are in-there, anyway, because they have to be in-there as the 'mechanism' which embodies neural-information-processing.

So, rather than waste all of the abstract TD E/I stuff, the evolutionary 'engineer' built the 'emotion'-non-verbal-symbolic-'language' interface 'on top of' the TD E/I-minimization mechanisms.

What 'emotion' is is a 'language' interface through which organisms [even down to insects, but that's another discussion [which I briefly discussed in long-former posts before I had to log-off the last time]] communicate more or less of their internal 'state' of TD E/I.

The communications capabilities of this abstract-'language' evolutionary-add-on are myriad and of substantial significance because it's universally-interpretable. It, rather-eloquently communicates TD E/I-'directionality' ['moving toward', 'moving away from' - continuua], relative TD E/I, relative TD E/I-minimization, etc. Predatory species [including 'humans'] use it to 'traumatize' their prey during attack-behavior.

In Humans, the communications capabilities are very-rich, and, as is discussed in AoK, Ap7, can be highly-'cognitive' [occurring as a function of "volition" [AoK, Ap7], which enables 'feigning' of 'emotion' - which enables Professional Actors to earn their daily-bread, but also enables 'real-life' 'deception'.

But all that's in-'emotion' is 'just' more interface stuff that 'sits on top of' the TD E/I-minimization mechanisms, deriving 'emotional' functionality 'directly' from the TD E/I-minimization dynamics that're going-on in-there, anyway - the evolutionary 'engineer' doesn't waste anything.

The heart of this stuff is discussed in AoK, Ap5. See, in particular, the discussion of the low-'level' amygdalar supersystem configuration dynamics.

'Underneath' 'emotion' it's all 'just' TD E/I, IFR-directionality and thresholding, within 'momentary' TD E/I-minimization.

"Inverting" and True biological reward 'just' 'go along for the ride', as 'servo mechanisms' that 'amplify' and 'reinforce' relative TD E/I-trends as is discussed in AoK.

>There is 'just' what's been discussed in AoK all along.
>Many problems being 'worked-on' simultaneously, most of which are
>strongly-TD E/I-minimized.

As is discussed in AoK, Ap7, even within any 'one' subset problem, with respect to which an interface 'add-on' activation is converged-upon, there can be, and typically are, vast quantities of information integrated. [See the discussion of the "meta" information-processing 'phases' in AoK, Ap7.] Convergence upon what's 'contained' in a problem set occurs via TD E/I-minimization.

>And then the Authors introduce 'sledge-hammer' stuff, observe the
>supersystem-configuration dynamics, and call such "emotion", but all
>they're observing is 'just' relatively-high TD E/I, and the ensuing
>TD E/I-minimization dynamics, which is 'just' more of the same stuff
>as is in what the Authors refer to as the other 'stream', but not yet
>TD E/I-minimized.

One can't See what's going-on in the 'brain' [nervous system] if one tries to 'see' it in terms of the observables that are typically focused-upon [i.e. verbal-symbolic 'language'-interface stuff].

The only results of such are attempts to 'stuff' all of the nervous system's information-processing dynamics into what's only interface stuff. Which is kind of like calling a steering wheel, accelerator and brake pedals "a car". One can't get anywhere in such 'a car'. And neither can one 'get anywhere', with respect to the nervous system, without providing 'mechanisms' through which the interface-stuff gains it's externally-observable capabilities.

Another example: A "computer" is more than its input and output interfaces - more than its keyboard, mouse, scanner, CRT [LCD], modem, printer, etc. The interface stuff is incapable of 'doing' anything on its own.

The analogous thing is True with respect to the nervous system's interface stuff, which includes the abstract-TD E/I-'reflecting' 'emotional'-language' interface.

To See the underpinning information-processing stuff, one must 'look under the hood [bonnet]' by knitting together the results provided by the Neuroscience Experimentalists.

>It's all been reified in AoK, all along. See, in particular, the
>discussions of hierarchical-prioritization in Ap5, and global
>prioritization ["volition"] in Ap7, with further relevant discussion
>in Ap8.

Please don't be 'angry' with me. I've assumed, all along, that all of this stuff is just obvious in AoK. I've tried hard to understand why folks have 'moved away from' AoK's stuff when it's all just so obvious. I've begged to be allowed to meet with folks in-person, in order to 'get to the heart of the matter'.

It's been so Wasteful to have to 'flounder-around', not knowing what's 'difficult' - what folks don't See in AoK.


>You see how I embed "emotion" - that 'non-specific'-motor-'side'-interface stuff - within the
>'language'-interface? [I'd 'jump-up-and-down', but nobody'd see it :-]

I understand that a lot of folks [most? all?] 'think' that I'm 'acting' when I express my 'desperation', but I've never done such. There's always Desperate stuff underpinning this or that 'desperate' post, most-often, be-cause I can See  an augmenting 'risk' of NDT's understanding  being lost because I'm virtually 'caged', can't find employment, and, you know, it's not some 'sit-com', in which one 'doesn't have to worry' about making-ends-meet.

I've put my Life in Jeopardy in order to devote these months to trying to 'cross-the-divide'.

There're things that're just beyond my 'control - as in Real-Life.

You know?

Anyway, 'emotion' is not 'separable'.

Any discussion of it as being 'separate' is artificial, and divergent, rather than convergent.

[I'm Grateful for these things Mr. Goddard is posting. They present the opportunity for discussion.]

k. p. collins


>Ian Goddard wrote in message <3d624c5c.49424128 at news.erols.com>...
>>Duke University - Duke News Service
>> MRI Studies Provide New Insight Into How Emotions Interfere With
>>Staying Focused
>> DURHAM, N.C. -- Duke University researchers have shown how emotions
>>such as fear or horror travel along separate paths through the brain
>>and are more likely than simple distractions to interfere with a
>>person's efforts to focus on a task such as driving.
>> Using functional MRI to watch human brains in action, the
>>showed that emotional stimuli and "attentional functions" like
>>move in parallel streams through the brain before finally meeting up
>>in a specific part of the brain's prefrontal cortex.
>> The results, published in the August 20 issue of The Proceedings of
>>the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), help explain why a person
>>suddenly feels a pang of emotion is especially likely to lose focus.
>>They also may lead to new avenues of research for treating
>>attention-deficit disorder, post-traumatic stress syndrome and other
>> "We've known for a long time that some people are more easily
>>distracted and that emotions can play a big part in this," said
>>S. LaBar, assistant professor at Duke's Center for Cognitive
>>Neuroscience and an author of the study. "Our study shows that two
>>streams of processing take place in the brain, with attentional
>>and emotions moving in parallel before finally coming together." The
>>two streams are integrated in a region of the brain called the
>>anterior cingulate, which is located between the right and left
>>of the brain's frontal portion and is involved in a wide range of
>>thought processes and emotional responses.
>> LaBar and his colleagues used functional MRI devices to study the
>>brains of neurologically healthy subjects who tried to pay attention
>>to specific visual targets on a screen. The test subjects were
>>distracted in various ways, sometimes by images that were likely to
>>evoke an emotional response. The results confirmed previous findings
>>that emotional stimuli are more likely to cause a person to lose
>>focus. However, they also shed light on the long-standing mystery of
>>how the brain juggles different kinds of signals, and how the
>> The Duke study indicates that the brain segregates attentional and
>>emotional functions into parallel streams that extend into the
>>prefrontal cortex. Emotional processing tends to occur in the
>>or lower, part of the brain's front, while attentional tasks occur
>>near the top. Surprisingly, an increase in one type of function is
>>accompanied by a noticeable decrease in the other.
>> "This study is part of our larger effort to identify parts of the
>>brain that are associated with emotional processing," said Gregory
>>McCarthy, director of the Duke-University of North Carolina Imaging
>>and Analysis Center, who headed the research study. "These findings
>>are important because diseases that involve distractability, from
>>Alzheimer's to attention-deficit disorder, always seems to involve
>>prefrontal cortex. Understanding the biology of this will speed
>>efforts to develop drugs or therapies that may influence these
>> The research team is now carrying out a similar study with subjects
>>diagnosed with clinical depression to see how their brain activity
>>might differ. The study reported in PNAS was supported by the
>>Department of Veterans Affairs, the National Institute of Mental
>>Health, the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and
>>Depression and the Japan Foundation for Aging and Health.
>>  http://IanGoddard.net
>>  Out-of-Body Explanation: http://iangoddard.net/paranorm.htm
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