Mental Dynamist

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  1. Mental Dynamist

    Mental Momentum (short essays about mind and brain)

    Here’s a full summary of my theory. I’m still organizing the supporting evidence. Please ask me if you have any questions. The Cortical Theory of Mental Dynamics The whole theory has four parts: Microscopic Mental Dynamics: The unit scale mental dynamics (time scale ~ a second to a minute). Key concepts: mental motion, intensified unit, interconnection, convergence, incorporation, time and spatial-integration, quasi-linearity. Mesoscopic Mental Dynamics: The unconstructional mental dynamics (time scale ~ minutes to hours). At this short time scale, assuming changes in our brain happen only at electrical (firings of neurons) and chemical (depleting and recharging of neurotransmitters) level, not at structural (growth & decease of neurons and connections) level. Deal with the transition of thoughts between fields, e.g. talking casually from topics to topics. Key concepts: concomitant habituation, potential, convergence control. Macroscopic Mental Dynamics: The constructional mental dynamics (time scale ~ a day to years). Neurologically, taking into account the structural evolutions in our brain. Behaviorally, analyzing the construction of a field, e.g. learning a new subject. Key concepts: connective construction, constructional potential, potential preservation, potential transformation, the three-stage construction. Constructional Grand Cycle: Linking mental dynamics from microscopic to macroscopic. Showing how we end up doing what we’ve learned through years (like doing math) inattentively as if out of our instinct. Key concepts: convergence selection, constructional collapse, pattern migration. Microscopic Mental Dynamics: (the initial part of this section has been discussed, please refer to the earlier summary) Thinking happens that the full activation of one unit (e.g. idea, concept) in our brain always activates part of other units. Through subsequent firing, activated units compete until only one unit remains and is fully triggered. So on and so forth to produce a linear mental motion perpetually moving forward in time. This triggering mechanism makes ideas/concepts in our brain 1) highly associable, and 2) distinguishable from its surroundings. A unit, as it incorporates more of other units, gains potential (i.e. becomes generally more likely to be triggered) and becomes more distinguishable from other units. I’ve also introduced time-integration and the equivalence of time - space (connectivity), showing we can make sense of the firing of individual neurons by analyzing the collective firing behavior of groups of neurons. In terms of measurement, I’d say we can either measure the temporal behavior of the firing of cortical neurons accurately, while the spatial measurement is integrated across space (e.g. EEG), or measure the spatial behavior accurately, while getting an integrated measurement across time (e.g. fMRI). Although on a larger time scale, our thinking appears linear, on a smaller time scale, it is quasi-linear – multidirectional because any single unit coactivates multiple other units at any given time. Mesoscopic Mental Dynamics: In our brain, the synapses (the connective nodes between neurons), while transiting firing signals, will deplete neurotransmitters, making it less able to transit firing signals. This leads to habituation, which pushes our thinking perpetually forward without retrograding to what’ve been thought about. Because of convergence – the overlap in meaning representation in our brain, the habituation of one thought will concomitantly habituated part of its closely related thoughts. This leads to the habituation at the field level in a much larger time scale. When solving a mathematical problem, for example, we can’t think out all the solutions we can potentially think of at once because after some solutions have been produced, habitation will accumulate so much that our thinking loses cohesion in that field. Our time of thinking can be regarded as a mental space for thoughts to occupy. Here I define mental potential – the ability of a certain thought (or a certain field of thoughts) to occupy our mental space. Mental potential is originated from the firing potential of individual neurons and the chemical potential of synapses – that each neuron has a certain likelihood of being triggered, and each synapse has the potential to transmit a certain amount of firing signals without recharging its neurotransmitter. Mental potential is manifested in two scales – the unit (idea, concepts, and etc.) scale and the field (subject, topic, and etc.) scale. At the unit scale, potential is the general likelihood for a unit to be triggered. At the field scale, potential is the duration of thinking within a field once thinking gets into it. While thinking within a field, habituation accumulates. But when we think meditatively (as opposed to being aided by sensation), our thoughts don’t jump across different fields. We stay in-field until the potential of that field expires. It happens as if we’ve created an inner mental environment to immerse us into that field. This inner environment is the firing in the prefrontal cortex. When thinking meditatively, the prefrontal cortex (frontal) and the posterior cortices (posterior) are like two people talking to each other – neither tends to say things that’s entirely foreign to the other person, because two systems (two people) always overlap, and the overlap always feeds back to the brain and strengthens that overlapped line of thought. Once we’ve been thinking in a field long enough, the two systems (frontal and posterior) gradually converge to the same page. The resonation becomes strong. And our thoughts seldom get far away from any of the two systems, thereby staying in-field. Thinking, in the mesoscopic scale, is alternating between the intensive in-field state and dispersive inter-field state. The later happens when thinking is transiting between different fields. This distinctive transition mechanism is resulted from frontal’s convergence control, which makes use of habituation to specify thinking direction. When solving a mathematical problem, for example, we first figure out ways that could possibly work and then try out one way after another. In this way, subfields are created within a given field, so that mental motion and habituation are concentrated within one subfield. It makes thinking definite instead of dispersive. It at the same time makes these unentered subfields less habituated, so that their potentials are preserved. It therefore makes the in-field thinking more sustained and more fruitful. When solving problems, the potential is the total space of a paper, and convergence control produces our plan to draw out more stuff on that same piece of paper. The ability of convergence control develops with age and varies among individuals. This developmental trajectory can be clearly seen 1) behaviorally: children tend to solve problem in a poorly planned way, tend to speak individual words rather than well-structured sentences, tend to be easily diverted, tend to produce jumpy thoughts, can focus on doing a thing for a significantly lesser time; and 2) neurologically, children’s prefrontal cortex is developed much later than the posterior cortices. Macroscopic Mental Dynamics: Thinking is constructional, changing the ground upon with it happens, thereby making later thinking different. Thinking is also associating, linking together previously far-away thoughts. Constructional potential is the open space for construction. It is also the connection that could be made between distant thoughts (i.e. the connective constructional potential). Learning new knowledge is connective construction. And the potential for us to learn new things is determined by our constructional potential. Constructional potential has two aspects – potential preservation and potential transformation. When reading a thousand-page textbook about neuroscience, for example, generally, on the next day you tend to have the same potential (i.e. tend to spend the same amount of time) to read the book as on the previous day. This is potential preservation – that the potential of a field is preserved. But on the next day, you don’t have the same potential for the stuff you’ve previously read. The things you’ve previously read transforms into the potential for you to read new related material. This is potential transformation. The construction of a new field happens in three stages – 1) familiarizing, 2) intensive, and 3) habituated. In the first stage, the potential of the new field is transformed from the potential of other fields. Therefore, how easy it is to learn a new subject, which is usually hardest at the beginning, is determined by how much potential could be transformed into the new subject. At the second stage, the in-field potential is generally preserved. This is a stage of pure love – the love for the field itself. In this stage, thoughts in the field will strongly occupy your free time of thinking (e.g. ruminating the storyline of the novel you’re reading at the break of working hours). Finally, we get to the third stage where potential is generally transforming from in-field to other fields. There, you’ll find that you need a holiday to do something else. Constructional Grand Cycle: The neurons in our inner system – frontal – compete in firing frequency. The ones that receive more firing signals are preserved, and the ones that get less firing signals are selectively discarded. This is called convergence selection: the frontal neurons first selectively connect to the posterior neurons (neurons in the posterior cortices) that incorporate most meanings and are therefore fire most often, and then actively control these posterior convergence neurons to make them fire even more persistently (manifested as thinking staying in-field). Convergence selection creates a sequence of action – a pattern that resonates between frontal and posterior. While the pattern is activated over and over again, the connective intensified, and the sequence of action collapses into an intensified unit. As the result of this constructional collapse, the pattern reduces in firing duration and potential, and in the number of frontal neurons to control it. In the end, an action that we used to take a long time to perform with our full awareness collapses into something so transient that we could perform inattentively. While constructional collapse happens, the frontal firing pattern is preserved and migrates to other parts of the posterior. As pattern migrates, we apply the pattern (could be theory, method and etc.) we’ve developed or learned onto new problems/situations. If the pattern is still applicable, it will result in a resonation between frontal and posterior, a constructional collapse, and a further pattern migration. If not, a new round of convergence selection will be initiated to generate a new optimized pattern.
  2. Mental Dynamist

    Mental Momentum (short essays about mind and brain)

    It seems I have made a mistake in the way of presenting my theory here in our forum. This probably leads to misunderstandings that follow. My apologies. In my further posts, I'll keep them theoretical without talking about anything personal about me. I'll also try to minimize the examples to make my posts compact.
  3. It seems I have made a mistake in the way of presenting my theory here in our forum. This probably leads to the misunderstandings between me and our mods. My apologies. In my further posts (in the thread Mental Momentum), I'll keep them theoretical without talking about anything personal about me. I'll also try to minimize the examples to make my posts compact.
  4. I'm not here to start an argument, what I really want is to present my theories and ideas and share my understanding of how the brain works. To do this, I have spent a while organizing my theory into the book chapter format I have presented here, believing that it is the best way to appeal the audience without any background in psychology or neuroscience. But as I'm new to any science forum online, I think I have tried my best to answer all the questions you have. As what I really want is to share my ideas, presenting my ideas in a more discussion friendly style may also be a worthwhile attempt. Again, I'm not rejecting criticism in any way, I only hope it pertains to the theories I have present. I do have complete and novel theories ready to be posted, if you all could be kind enough to let me present my ideas thoroughly before criticizing them (not attacking them for the sake of attack), that would be great.
  5. Mental Dynamist

    Mental Momentum (short essays about mind and brain)

    I'm not here to start an argument, what I really want is to present my theories and ideas and share my understanding of how the brain works. To do this, I have spent a while organizing my theory into the book chapter format I have presented here, believing that it is the best way to appeal the audience without any background in psychology or neuroscience. But as I'm new to any science forum online, I think I have tried my best to answer all the questions you have. As what I really want is to share my ideas, presenting my ideas in a more discussion friendly style may also be a worthwhile attempt. Again, I'm not rejecting criticism in any way, I only hope it pertains to the theories I have present. I do have complete and novel theories ready to be posted, if you all could be kind enough to let me present my ideas thoroughly before criticizing them (not attacking them for the sake of attack), that would be great.
  6. Mental Dynamist

    Mental Momentum (short essays about mind and brain)

    4. Partial trigger: what you’ll imagine seeing a giraffe’s head If ‘apple’ is incorporated from many different environments, each time I see an apple, however, I can only see part of the ‘apple’ in my brain. How do I know the apple I see is the ‘apple’ I can eat? What if I see only part of an apple? How could my brain see a whole apple if my eyes at any time could only see part of it? To answer these questions, I asked myself a slightly different question: What will come across me the instant after seeing a giraffe’s head (A)? (figure attached in pdf) Will I think of a whole giraffe (B)? Or the same part of the giraffe eating leaves (C)? Or perhaps, both. Perhaps, much more. When I saw a giraffe in a zoo, it may not matter what part of it I saw first, in so far that these parts always appear together. In fact, if apple always appears as a whole, I would never think of part of an apple. And I would never think of part of ‘apple’. Why? Because in my brain, neurons for ‘apple’ are mutually interconnected, such that groups of interconnected neurons will fire collectively once a considerable portion of them is firing. I’d call this pattern of triggering as the first stage of partial trigger (converging). Here, I say ‘groups’ of neurons, implying that an intensified unit always incorporates different contexts, or parts of other units. This leads to the second stage of partial trigger (diverging): The full trigger of a unit partially triggers several other units. The alternation between the converging and diverging stages creates our mental motion. But as it moves further from the diverging stage, you may suspect that thinking will become multidirectional instead of linear, because the partial trigger of many units would lead to the full trigger of all of them. On and on and on, thinking would be torn apart by uncountable different lines of thoughts. That’s not how it happens. If I could go back to 150 years ago and ask our beloved scientist Charles Darwin, I bet he’d give a brilliant answer: ‘In a limited space, the survival of the fittest counteracts the exponential growth.’ So I pondered: in my brain, the space is so limited that only one line of thought could survive. What survives is the strongest, by virtue of 1) firing momentum: which direction gets the strongest firing signals from the current state of firing in the brain, e.g. ‘apple’ – ‘eat’, 2) mutual interconnection between units: toward which unit the interconnection is strongest, 3) mutual interconnection within a unit: which unit has the densest interconnection within itself, and 4) sensory input: which direction is most strongly strengthened by sensory input. To give an example, suppose I am thinking about ‘giraffe’ in my home. It may in turn trigger ‘eat leaves on the tree’, or ‘its living environment’, which then triggers ‘documentary’ – ‘watch TV’ – ‘TV controller’. Now where is my TV controller? Why it is out of my sight? Maybe it is hidden underneath a book on the table? Or insider the corner of the sofa? Thing starts getting crazy. But anyway, you see how I’m thinking with solid, expressible units, and how the background sensation is continuously feeding in to specify where to go on many of the crossroads. Here, by ‘expressible’, I mean ‘expressible in the process of expressing it’, not ‘expressible in being able to explain what it is’. In this sense, ‘Marxism is dreary’ is expressed by being apathetic to my teacher’s question. But being apathetic could have a lot of possible meanings. For me, it means two things at the same time: that I can’t memorize what it is (as written in the textbook), and I don’t like to talk about it[1]. In a sense, I’m expressing Marxism out of myself. But this expression could very much be biased in my teacher’s eyes. But my teacher’s biased expression, back to myself as his interpretation, is partly right, keeping myself on the line of thoughts following that Marxism is dreary. For me, being able to communicate with others never means that we can understand each other perfectly. My words may mean differently to others. I have some knowledge of mine about ‘apple’. But for others, this knowledge may very much be inapplicable. For example, if all the trees I’ve seen are apple trees, all the apples I eat are picked up by myself from apple trees, and all the clothes I wear are bought from the market. And there is another person, for whom all the trees he’s seen are fruitless trees, all the apple he eats are bought from the market, and all the clothes he wears are woven by tree bark he collected from the tree. Will ‘tree’, ‘apple’ and ‘cloth’ mean the same for the two of us? Will they be so entirely different that prevent us from talking about them? When talking about them, are we referring to the same things? Or things that are entirely different? Neither, perhaps. Perhaps, same in the sense that we can talk about them under common terms. Yet different such that we are both incorporating new contexts while talking. Perhaps, every one of us are same as well as different. Every one of us can learn something new by talking to each other. [1] I see that my silence has many connotations. But these connotations are in themselves coherent – having meanings so closely related that could be taken as a whole, and therefore could be regarded as a single unit. Figure 2.4.1.pdf
  7. 5/15 on https://www.scienceforums.net/topic/119001-mental-momentum-short-essays-about-mind-and-brain/, I tried to post my ideas about how our mind and brain work (exactly the same material I posted in our thread). From then on, I’ve been receiving attacks from the moderators, not on the validity of my theory, but on my person. After I’ve addressed the issue, the moderator Strange made an insincere apology. Afterward, Strange constrained his/her posts on a theoretical level, but continued to deliberately impede me to publish my ideas without pointing out how my theories are scientifically invalid. Around six hours after Strange’s insincere apology, another moderators swansont came in and posted a moderator note saying that I’m making the thread as my personal blog to soapboxing my ideas, while not engaging in discussion. swansont then said “if you think that you, personally, have been attacked, you should use the "report post" link at the top right of the post to report it, rather than bring it up here.” Finally, swansont said the thread will be closed if I continued to post my ideas while leaving others’ questions unclarified. From then on, the moderator Strange keeps soapboxing superficial questions nagging for clarification. My dear moderators, I have a question to ask you: Is this forum a place to openly discuss science, rather than a place to impose policies and protectionism? Despite that I’ve kindly and patiently replied to comments that pertain my opinions of mind, including those with very hostile tones, I’m still tagged as ‘not open to discussion’. I don’t think so. I think you, my dear moderators, only want to impose your dogmas on our members. You want all others to accept your reasons while yourselves are not open to either reason or discussion. Science talks about evidence, and here they are: The Moderator Note made by swansont were made six hours after Strange’s insincere apology, not anywhere near my post containing my theoretical excerpts. swansont, while questioning my sincerity in engaging in discussion, 1) said I should use ‘report post’ to report personal attack, and 2) threatened to close the discussion thread. Should I report the posts of mods so that every personal attack they made will be dealt with by themselves, rather than be open for all to see? But anyway, our dear mods clearly know how to delete individual posts without closing the whole thread. So why would swansont said to close the thread instead of just deleting the posts he thought I was soapboxing? Because our mods are on the losing ground in the discussion here in this thread, and they want to find a pretext to close it.
  8. Mental Dynamist

    Mental Momentum (short essays about mind and brain)

    I have not yet been given a chance to present my complete theory. A theory should take into account many many factors, as an experiment is also affected by various factors. You know, so much of how our mind and brain work need to know before we can constrain an experiment so that it is only testing what it means to test. Science is serious. In every research paper, you'll find pages in the Method section. These methods, again, take at least years to develop. You are asking me how my theory is novel, and how it could be experimentally tested. Yet, I'm not permitted to put it here to anywhere near its fullness. If I'm not mistaken, you're asking me to treat science seriously. Yet, you demand quick summaries of novel ideas. You ask for ways to experimentally test my idea. Yet you forbid me to explain it with sufficient details.
  9. Mental Dynamist

    Mental Momentum (short essays about mind and brain)

    I'm using a single theory to account for existing pieces of evidence that are explained by different incompatible theories proposed in different fields and subfields. What seems to be already known is the evidence, not the way to explain it. If you ask me what is novel, please find a single theory that explains everything I've so far explained.
  10. Mental Dynamist

    Mental Momentum (short essays about mind and brain)

    I do like your notion of ‘potential for continual improvement and evolution’ and ‘dynamic and plastic’. Here ‘concrete’ means distinct – being distinguishable from its surrounding (interrelated ideas/concepts). I’m arguing that an idea or a concept, as it incorporates more of other ideas or concepts, becomes more distinguishable from other ideas or concepts. Concrete also refers to the specific thing existing in the world, but the concreteness of object representation to the brain is not fixed and unchangeable. In the shorter run, if you’ve recently seen apples on the tree everyday in different specific environments, then your brain should exist a more concrete representation for that apple on the tree, than the poisonous apple you have only seen in the cartoon back 10 years ago [1: Jennifer Aniston neuron]. On the other hand, the so called concrete representation is also changing. For people who have never seen an apple on the tree, they won’t have this specific representation. for people who have been seeing the apple on the tree for a while, the old mental map got eroded and reshaped for new items. This is how we keep hold of all our mental information in a single, highly interconnected brain. To give an example, for the fusiform face area [2], while some argue that this brain region is specifically dedicated to face perception, some also argue that it may more be an expertise region, which activates when seeing a super familiar stimulus, differing across different individuals). Reference: [1] https://www.nature.com/articles/nature03687 (this also supports my collective processing and convergence) [2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27082047 You didn't seem to read the discussion between me and iNow, which already provides a decent summary: Our thinking is a perpetual motion of thoughts (units). Our brain, when processing information, is taking into account of various factors - including logic, situation, tone, and etc. For example, when we hear someone saying 'apple', we could potentially think of an apple we can find on an apple tree, an apple we eat that is sweet and chewy, the Poison Apple in the cartoon Snow White, etc and etc. At this early stage of collective processing, the 'apple' in our brain is undefined. As illustrated in II.1, when the next info (unit, e.g. tree) comes to our brain, both units that encompass various meanings converge (explained in II.2) into a meaning that is more definite - an apple on the apple tree. The above theory, while shedding light on concept categorization, I think is also a universal way of how our brain works, affecting our belief (I.4) and attitude (I.5). Due to convergence in our brain's neurons in representing real meanings (II.2), one idea in our brain always activates part of other ideas. This makes ideas/concepts in our brain 1) highly associable, and at the same time 2) distinguishable from its surroundings. An idea or a concept, as it incorporates (explained in II.3) more of other ideas or concepts, quite paradoxically, becomes more distinguishable from other ideas or concepts.
  11. Mental Dynamist

    Mental Momentum (short essays about mind and brain)

    Thanks for the great reply. In general, I do agree that 'one idea always activates other ideas due precisely to the way our minds operate'. But this, while making ideas in our brain highly associable, doesn't prevent us from forming concrete concepts. I think, quite paradoxically, the more a concept incorporates other concepts, the more concrete it becomes. Interesting to think that since 'apple' could be placed into different categories, in our brain those categories may not be separated nests, but are placed on a single closely connected continuum - the cortex. It appears to us that there are distinct categories (nests) only because at some places the connections are denser (the gradient). While my theory could explain object categorization, I think it is also a universal interpretation of how our brain works - as I've argued in I.4 and I.5, it affects our belief and attitude.
  12. Mental Dynamist

    Mental Momentum (short essays about mind and brain)

    By collective processing, I mean our brain, when processing information, is taking into account various factors - including logic, situation, tone, etc. As illustrated with much more detail in I.3, when we hear someone saying 'apple', we could potentially think of an apple that we can find on an apple tree, an apple we eat that is sweet and chewy, the Poison Apple in the cartoon Snow White, etc and etc. At this early stage of collective processing, the 'apple' in our brain is undefined. As illustrated in II.1, when the next info (unit) comes to our brain (e.g. tree), both units that encompass various meanings converge (explained in II.2) into a meaning that is more definite - an apple on the apple tree. As for interconnection, you're right that it is a consensus among neuroscientists. But as I'm not assuming my readers to have a background in neuroscience, I think I have to introduce it before moving into theories that are more particular and more novel. In II.1, I'm using what is agreed in neuroscience as a ground to establish my theories in later chapters.
  13. Mental Dynamist

    Mental Momentum (short essays about mind and brain)

    I'm not rejecting peer-review. I just think we should discuss on the validity of the theory itself, not making prejudices and attacks against the person.
  14. Mental Dynamist

    Mental Momentum (short essays about mind and brain)

    It is a discussion. About both how the brain works, and what science really is. As all of you (Strange, Phi for All, and iNow) should know, I’m trying to illustrate how the brain works, not what climatologists’ view on global warming. I’m using climatologists and global warming as an example to show the logic behind our brain. It, as other example I’ve used, is my personal way to convey my theory. I’m very confused why I’ve gotten so much attack on things that are personal, rather than things I want people to believe to be universal – my theory itself. Let me kindly remind you something you’d better know: science is about who is true, not who speaks loud or who stands high. So far, I think it is rather clear to our audience that I’ve received a lot of attacks, but most of them are not about the theory I’m conveying. I think it is also clear to our audience that you’re trying to attack me – again not because the validity of my theory. It seems you’re trying to impede my theory without pointing out why it is untrue – posting like this, I’m afraid people who truly understand the way of science can’t take your posts seriously. Historically, great scientific minds have always encountered violent oppositions. But the oppositions, though in various forms, are not laid on the validity of the theory itself. When initially posting my theory, I was thinking out of my ignorant some of it might be untrue, and people here’d be kind enough to point out. But now, I can’t help feeling that the theory I’m presenting is generally good and true.
  15. Mental Dynamist

    Mental Momentum (short essays about mind and brain)

    It appears my material has become too good to be criticized.