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Consciousness: less control than believed?

Otokage
Posts: 2,351
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6/24/2015 9:26:02 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
"Consciousness -- the internal dialogue that seems to govern one's thoughts and actions -- is far less powerful than people believe, serving as a passive conduit rather than an active force that exerts control, according to a new theory proposed by a researcher."

"The information we perceive in our consciousness is not created by conscious processes, nor is it reacted to by conscious processes. Consciousness is the middle-man, and it doesn't do as much work as you think. [...] Consciousness does the same simple task over and over, giving the impression that it is doing more than it actually is. [...] We have long thought consciousness solved problems and had many moving parts, but it's much more basic and static."

According to Morsella, the "free will" that people typically attribute to their conscious mind does not exist. Instead, consciousness only relays information to control "voluntary" action, or goal-oriented movement involving the skeletal muscle system.

Morsella and his coauthors' groundbreaking theory, published online on June 22 by the journal Behavioral and Brain Sciences, contradicts intuitive beliefs about human consciousness and the notion of self.

The theory has major implications for the study of mental disorders, Morsella said. "Why do you have an urge or thought that you shouldn't be having? Because, in a sense, the consciousness system doesn't know that you shouldn't be thinking about something," Morsella said. "An urge generator doesn't know that an urge is irrelevant to other thoughts or ongoing action."

"For the vast majority of human history, we were hunting and gathering and had more pressing concerns that required rapidly executed voluntary actions. Consciousness seems to have evolved for these types of actions rather than to understand itself."

http://www.sciencedaily.com...
v3nesl
Posts: 4,500
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6/24/2015 1:34:33 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/24/2015 9:26:02 AM, Otokage wrote:
"Consciousness -- the internal dialogue that seems to govern one's thoughts and actions -- is far less powerful than people believe, serving as a passive conduit rather than an active force that exerts control, according to a new theory proposed by a researcher."


And with what did the researcher deduce this theory, if not his uncontrolled consciousness? Amazing how many seem to miss the self defeating nature of this argument.
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janesix
Posts: 3,467
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6/24/2015 6:57:52 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
I say this guy's theory is total BS. They didn't even mention what scientific evidence he based it on. I think this guy is just making crap up. And calling it science.
philochristos
Posts: 2,614
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6/24/2015 8:18:33 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
I'm having a hard time distinguishing this person's view from epiphenominalism, which is not new at all. It's been around for a long time.

"You have one thought and then another, and you think that one thought leads to the next, but this doesn't seem to be the way the process actually works."

This renders the whole theory self-refuting. If none of our thoughts lead to the next thought, then we never draw conclusions from reasons. None of our beliefs are rational because none of them are the result of thinking through a series of propositions and drawing a conclusion from them. That means even the belief in this theory is not rational.
"Not to know of what things one should demand demonstration, and of what one should not, argues want of education." ~Aristotle

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." ~Aristotle
Saint_of_Me
Posts: 2,402
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6/25/2015 7:16:03 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/24/2015 9:26:02 AM, Otokage wrote:
"Consciousness -- the internal dialogue that seems to govern one's thoughts and actions -- is far less powerful than people believe, serving as a passive conduit rather than an active force that exerts control, according to a new theory proposed by a researcher."

"The information we perceive in our consciousness is not created by conscious processes, nor is it reacted to by conscious processes. Consciousness is the middle-man, and it doesn't do as much work as you think. [...] Consciousness does the same simple task over and over, giving the impression that it is doing more than it actually is. [...] We have long thought consciousness solved problems and had many moving parts, but it's much more basic and static."

According to Morsella, the "free will" that people typically attribute to their conscious mind does not exist. Instead, consciousness only relays information to control "voluntary" action, or goal-oriented movement involving the skeletal muscle system.

Morsella and his coauthors' groundbreaking theory, published online on June 22 by the journal Behavioral and Brain Sciences, contradicts intuitive beliefs about human consciousness and the notion of self.

The theory has major implications for the study of mental disorders, Morsella said. "Why do you have an urge or thought that you shouldn't be having? Because, in a sense, the consciousness system doesn't know that you shouldn't be thinking about something," Morsella said. "An urge generator doesn't know that an urge is irrelevant to other thoughts or ongoing action."

"For the vast majority of human history, we were hunting and gathering and had more pressing concerns that required rapidly executed voluntary actions. Consciousness seems to have evolved for these types of actions rather than to understand itself."

http://www.sciencedaily.com...

Yeah...I have read some of Morsella's stuff before, and I agree with some of it.

Basically in a nutshell--his ideas get pretty technical--he believes our brains are more like programmed computers than we first thought. That the 3-lb. organ we call the"brain" is the PC and what we call our "mind" is only the software. Or the Operating System.

And he thinks that we are simply "loops." As in feedback loops. That the mind learns from experience and conditioning, and from what actions we took when we first encountered them, and how well those action worked. Then it stores those results in our memory banks. Usually the amygdala.

So..when we are again presented with a situation or a choice where we "think" we have options to choose from, i.e. that much-ballyhooed "free will" we really do NOT. Becasue the mind just reaches back into those memories and causes you to take the same route you always have. This is what forms what we call "habits." It is a loop. And like the software guys say, the "GIGO" term applies to us as well. But in psychology we call it "cognitive dissonance" instead of GIGO.

I myself think Morsella goes a bit too far, and is a little too harsh on us not having ANY free will. After all, we can change our habits and our way of perceiving things. There is an extremely effective form of therapy for this; it's called "RET" for Rational Emotive Therapy." Developed years ago by a guy named Albert Ellis.

There is also a dynamic called "neuro-plasiticity" which allows us to change those pathways, those feedback loops. This is a fairly new discovery, BTW. YES! You can increase your intelligence, for example. The old adage that you cannot has been disproven many times.
Science Flies Us to the Moon. Religion Flies us Into Skyscrapers.