a thinking brain

ray scanlon rscanlon at nycap.rr.com
Sat Jun 26 11:44:21 EST 2004

R Norman writes: 

> The term "fictive behavior" is already in use, usually describing
> nervous activity that would ordinarily produce behavior except that
> the nervous system has been disconnected from the effectors.  

Exactly! It is purely a matter of emphasis. One says "fictive
swimming" or "fictive struggling". Or, one generalizes, ignores the
specific behavior, and says "fictive motor program".
> The problem of talking about some premotor activity somewhat removed
> from the motor neurons is the very real possibility that spinal
> circuits may play a major role in shaping and refining the final
> activity, not to mention modulating it or even gating it completely.
> It is hard to know exactly what actual behavior would result from that
> activity.  That is why there is a reluctance to call it motor
> behavior, fictive or  not.

My interest is not in premotor activity in general. Any activity among
interneurons may be said to be premotor. My interest is in the
particular signals arriving at the ventral anterior-ventral lateral
complex in the thalamus. At this point, I choose to call them a
fictive motor program. If they are allowed to proceed they become an
actual motor program and behavior results. If they are halted, the
fictive motor program vanishes but the neural effects remain. Thinking

Why be reluctant? Is it too much to ask that we concentrate on the
VA-VL complex?


More information about the Neur-sci mailing list

Send comments to us at biosci-help [At] net.bio.net