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spoILAMS

Evolution of Intelligence - Thoughts and Stuff V.2

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Introduction

I have some different ideas about how the brain works, and need help in the form of debate concerning to what extent they make sense. I am a recent college graduate but have only ever taken one psychology and one philosophy/linguistics class, so it is difficult for me to see to what extent the theory adds up with what is known about cognitiveneuropsychology. Keep in mind that I am not so much writing a story, but painting a picture, in hopes that you will either see what I see and either explain it better or logically convince me how wrong I am. Any thoughtful feedback, positive or negative, will be highly appreciated.

I believe that many uniquely human traits such as words, language, the imagination, human consciousness, etc, are results of evolutionary adaptations to the vocal-auditory system which produced the first "thought". I believe that thinking sparked the incredibly rapid evolution of the human brain, relatively speaking.

Evolution

Let me set the stage with some notes on evolution. Evolution is driven by selection pressures; with the biggest threats to survival and reproduction driving the natural selection of favorable traits from random mutations. Our most recent evolutionary ancestors were bipedal, nomadic, omnivorous, self-aware, capable of simple problem solving, referential gestures and vocalizations, lived in communities, etc. As our ancestors became further evolved they also became more reliant on their community to provide insulation via food, child rearing, protection, etc. As they become further evolved they also became more and more resistant to external selection pressures; due to both their relative dominance over other species/nature and the fact that the greatest threat to the survival of their genes would be the destruction of their community itself. In other words there was a tipping point at which, evolutionarily speaking, humans became their own worst enemies.

This means that mutations with adaptive value to the social cooperation both within and between communities would be strongly selected and propagate through the population. Meanwhile, if a cheater mutation occurred that enhanced an individuals fitness while threatening the social cooperation of the community, both the damage to this social cooperation and the damage to every other individuals genetic fitness would act as selection pressures for natural selection of traits that counter the evolutionary advantage of the cheater. These two groups would have children together that possessed both traits, and the arms race would continue and intensify as cheaters had selection pressures to cheat better, anti-cheaters had selection pressures to police better,etc. I believe these unique evolutionary conditions allowed such an intra-species evolutionary arm race to occur, sparked by the first thought, which led to the relatively rapid expansion in the size and capabilities of the human brain.

Thoughts

A large part of what led me down this line of reasoning was wondering: How did the first thought evolve? What is a thought? According to the dictionary: "an idea or opinion produced by thinking or occurring suddenly in the mind." I believe a thought can best be described as an internal referential communication.

A referential communication, as documented in science, is when gestures or vocalizations are produced for the purpose of attracting the attention of another to a particular aspect of the environment for the purpose of eliciting a specific behavior. Two examples include the shouting of alarm calls, which alert others to run from a predator, and pointing at an itchy spot on one's body for another to scratch. Referential communication is currently considered the closest animal communication system to human language, though it falls short in many ways, and is displayed in some of the most intelligent non-human species, such as apes and corvids. An internal referential communication is thus an internal gesture or vocalization produced for the purpose of attracting the attention of only oneself to a particular aspect of the environment for the purpose of eliciting a specific behavior.

The internalization of referential communications sparked the arms race because internal referential gestures threaten both social cooperation and the reproductive success of the other individuals in the community. To use an example, consider a hypothetical evolutionary path of mutations on referential vocalizations; in particular, alarm calls. The idea of an alarm call is that an organism draws attention to himself by shouting an alarm and pointing out a predator, hurting his chances of survival but increasing the chances of survival of his community.

Imagine that one individual had a mutation such that he heard his own alarm call while he was calling and processed it and reacted to it as though it had come from someone else - by hearing it, experiencing intense fear and running - involuntarily altering his behavior, but increasing his chances of survival and thus passing on his genes.

The next time our individual was in a similar situation to call he would no longer react to the predator, but to the fear associated with the memory of his own alarm call, experience the same intense fear and run. In this sense, the memory of his own alarm call became an internal referential vocalization, as the memory of the alarm call alerted only the individual to the predator and the need to run away.

This first moment of repressed behavior was also the birth of the imagination, as this individual "imagined" the emotional consequences of his alarm call before actually calling.

While hypothetical, this example is comparable beyond alarm calls to any situation where it would be favorable for an

individual to internalize a referential communication and, once the system became further evolved, to repress any behavior - by experiencing the effects of that behavior before behaving; to imagine that behavior.

Once thoughts with fear altered this behavior, mutations allowed thoughts with fear to alter other behaviors, and thoughts with emotions other than fear to alter even more behaviors.Starting with the neurological mechanism that allowed the alarm caller to re-experience the fear of his call before he called, Humans eventually began to anticipate the consequences of all of their behavior before they behaved. The brain went from anticipating only how it’s own behavior would affect itself to how it’s own behavior would affect others, how another’s behavior would affect itself, and how another's behavior would affect others. In other words, it developed a theory of mind.

The intra-species arms race encouraged development of more thoughts, thoughts about different subjects, different ways to regulate thoughts, methods of organizing thoughts, ways to express thoughts, different ways for thoughts to affect the behavior of the individual, ways to predict the thoughts of others, ways to control the thoughts of others, etc.

There are many situations when it would be favorable to repress an action, whether it be a call, gesture, gaze, footstep, eating a berry, picking a fight, etc, As the circumstantial benefits of this system expanded thoughts to these other situations, individuals began to think about things in both the future and past. This system of thoughts that evolved to handle the many complex social interactions of human communities became the main regulator of human behavior. Thoughts would allow humans to anticipate the effects of moving every limb, the effects of eating any food, the effects of every gaze, the effects of every kiss, the effects of every vocalization. Thoughts would make humans devote their lives to the pursuit of pleasure, live in terror of things long gone, and flee far from that which they fear the most.

Conscious, Subconscious, Unconscious Thoughts, and a Conscience

 

Consciousness is defined as the fact of awareness by the mind of itself and the world.This is a very complex topic that it is beyond me academically, but I think most people would agree consciousness is what separates humans from animals, and that human consciousness is built from many uniquely human traits, such as an imagination, theory of mind, language, conscious, subconscious, and unconscious thoughts and behavior, a conscience, etc. I firmly believe this system of involuntary thoughts-before-behavior led to many of these uniquely human traits.

For example,

A conscience would evolve from the need to regulate when to cheat and when to not cheat. When one individual began to understand how his behavior would affect another, he did so by experiencing that behavior as though it were done to him. Thus, similar to that of the initial alarm call repression, he began to associate negative feelings with his own cheating behavior as though that behavior had come from someone else, and would learn to avoid it in the future.

Also,

Conscious thoughts are thoughts the brain is aware of, is focused on, and reacts to, leading to conscious behavior

Subconscious thoughts are thoughts the brain is aware of, is not focused on, and reacts to, leading to subconscious behavior

Unconscious thoughts are thoughts the brain is not aware of, is not aware of, yet still reacts to, leading to unconscious behavior

What do I mean by “is aware of ” and "is focused on"? I mean these are thoughts the brain sees, and is looking at.

No, not literally.

Awareness sprung from the neural mechanisms which first determined how the eye focused in the visual field. As thoughts became more complex and abundant, a central mechanism evolved to determine which of the sounds, sights, tastes, emotions, etc., an individual was imagining should be focused on and which should not at any given moment. The brain began neurologically processing its mental picture as the eye neurologically processes its visual picture. In the visual field the eye may be focused on, thus the brain may be “hearing” thoughts about, only a few things at once, but the brain is aware of many of the other things the eye is “seeing” and can switch it’s focus to them at any point.

The thoughts in "focus" are the consciously perceived thoughts, with both attention and awareness (an individual is "seeing" and "hearing" them). The thoughts in the “periphereal” are subconscious thoughts, with attention but not awareness (an individual is "seeing" but not "hearing" them). The thoughts not seen are the unconscious thoughts, with neither awareness nor attention (an individual is neither "seeing" nor "hearing" them).

 

The Mind’s Eye, Awareness, Attention,

Consider the phrase a picture is worth a thousand words. What about a mental picture?

As I mentioned earlier, as the system for thoughts became more complex, universal, and able to regulate the behavior of self and others, there would need to be a central processing mechanism for filtering which thoughts are important, which should be perceived at any given moment, which should be expressed, to oneself and to others, which should be hidden, from oneself and from others, etc. This system is what people refer to as the minds eye.

The minds eye is most closely associated with mental imagery - however, the mind has many functional similarities to the eye than just imagery. Once the neural hardware of the communicative-visual-behavior systems became linked, mutations that enhanced the ability of the thought process to solve social problems could simultaneously enhance the functionality of the visual and communicative systems. For example,

Where am I looking? What am I thinking about? What am I talking about?

Is anyone looking at me? Is anyone thinking about me? Is anyone talking about me?

When is it beneficial to pretend like I did not see something? When is it beneficial to pretend like I did not think something? When is it beneficial to pretend like I did not say something? etc.

Memory, Words, Language

 

Let me divert to words. What is the difference between thoughts, speech, and words?

Thoughts are words that are private (sometimes, even to the thinker), speech is words that are public, but a word itself is something separate. Every consciously perceived sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell has words associated with it. In fact, there is nothing that humans can consciously perceive that does not have words associated. At the same time, every word has sights, sounds, touches, tastes and smells associated with it. A word then is a bridge, a two-way door that allows for a simultaneously activated connection between the internal thought environment and the perceptual senses of the outside environment.

Categorizing the world in terms of words allowed for a completely new way for memories to be organized and compared in the brain, a completely new way for decisions to be made.The linkage between thoughts, the communication system, and the visual system already explained is at the core of the formation of words. In our original example, the first thought was the memory of a sound and the emotion associated with the sound. As thoughts became more complex and applied to various different social situations, re living the memory of not just sounds but also sights, tastes, smells, etc., would become crucial to identifying, predicting, explaining, and behaving towards objects in the internal and external environments. The evolution of a word solved this issue, as it is an anchor point for the activation and referencing of all five senses. Words allow the brain to shift focus internally as they allows the eyeball to shift focus externally. A dog is not a dog, it is the sight of a dog, the smell of a dog, the sound of a dog, etc., all linked together and co-activated in the form of the word dog.

A word then is a complex consisting of the memories of the senses which both activates and is activated by motor neurons; generally, movements of the larynx; the memory of the vibrations produced by sub vocalizations and vocalizations. However, the generally distinction is important; for example, when thinking about those who are deaf or cannot speak, or those who think in terms of images or feelings. My feelings on this are that while the vocal word itself was necessary for the evolution of the two-way bridge system, it is not necessary for proper functioning of it once the neural mechanisms were in place as long as there is another suitable sensory anchor point. This is why some people think in terms of words, some people in terms of images, some people in terms of emotions, etc.

Imagine berry pickers who display emotions on their face when tasting and smelling different berries. Yuck! Or Mmm, tasty. The rest of the tribe would watch these facial expressions to determine whether or not to eat the berries. If we consider word the aforementioned motor neurons, we can see that when a viewer sees the emotions associated with the facial expression of a particular reaction to picking berries, the activation of the word complex will allow the viewer to experience the smell and taste of the berry allowing them to learn through the experience of the eater, informing the eater whether they should eat similar berries. The impacts of this smell/taste-emotion-facial expression/word linkage can be seen directly in the language with which humans describe each other. It is not a coincidence that someone can be described as behaving, speaking, or looking salty, bitter, sweet, or sour.

Evidence from Perception and Behavior

State Dependent Memory - Cogito Ergo Sum

 

I think, therefore I am. This is a famous line most often associated with Descartes and the idea of the separation of mind and body. I suspect it proves just the opposite. For example, I think happy therefore I am happy.

Words have behavioral, emotional, and physical associations and because words that are being thought about whether consciously, subconsciously, or unconsciously, are being re-experienced, these behavioral, emotional, and physical associations are being re-experienced. A state then might be considered the sum total effect of these behavioral, emotional, and physical associations of words. By this logic if a human thinks he is happy; if he believes he feels good, he will be happy, he will feel good.

This idea combined with the power of words explains many of the biofeedback related phenomenon of human behavior. For example, consider meditation, whereby a human tells himself to be calm, to enter a state of relaxation, one free of thoughts, emotions, worries, etc. Consider the phenomenon where, if a human forces a smile on his face, that human is more likely to say and think happy things. Consider how a human hears the word pizza, his mouth may start to water as he remembers the taste and smell of pizza. Consider that when you get off work, the closer you get to the bathroom, the harder it is to not pee your pants. Consider that it feels good to talk. Words have power.

Priming

 

When a human sees yellow on a can of soda, he is more likely to describe that soda as tasting lemony, due to the simulatenous coactivation of the sensory associations with yellow. If a student associates himself with Einstein before a test, he is more likely to do well on the test. If an inner city black student identifies himself as black immediate before taking an exam, he is much less likely to do well on such a test. Cogito Ergo Sum.

Personification and Object Recognition

 

When a human stares at the clouds, each may take on the identity of something that looks similar. The wind can howl like a wolf. A swaying tree can resemble a mother rocking her baby to sleep. This is possible because of the unique organization words allowed the human brain. When the human brain sees a sight, it does not compare that image to similar images, it compares the word associated with that image to words with similar images. Thus, clouds are not clouds, they are boats and fish and faces. By the same logic, when a human is trying to recall a particular food, they may confuse the food with food that looks, tastes, or smells similar, or simply food whose name is homophonically similar.

Synesthesia

 

Synesthesia is a medical disorder characterized by consciously perceived associations between two or more senses, for example, associating visual images with sounds, or sounds with visual images, tastes with sounds, etc. Since the co-activation of the sensory neurons is key to this model, the only way in which synesthesia is an abnormality is that the associations are consciously perceived.

The Power of Belief

 

To believe something is to anticipate that something is going to happen. There is power in belief, as anticipation allows a human to increase his chances of success by acting as though something will happen before it happens. In this model, this is due to the activation of state dependent memory; for example, a basketball player who repeatedly and calmly pictures himself making a three pointer at the end of the game will be more likely to make a three pointer at the end of the game due to the enhanced state associated with this act. Another example can be seen with the placebo effect. If a human believes that a pill will make him happy, he is more likely to be happy due to the state associated with the pill.

There are also negative effects of belief from anticipation. For example, someone who has been traumatized constantly relives thoughts of the trauma, and can have instinctive emotional, behavioral, or sensory flashbacks when in a situation that reminds them too much of the original trauma.

Edited by spoILAMS

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There is a great deal to consider in the foregoing. I have not read all of it yet, nor thought deeply about most segments I have read. These are preliminary thoughts. You made this remark. "Our most recent evolutionary ancestors were bipedal, nomadic, omnivorous, self-aware, capable of simple problem solving, referential gestures and vocalizations, lived in communities, etc. As our ancestors became further evolved they also became more reliant on their community to provide insulation via food, child rearing, protection, etc. As they become further evolved they also became more and more resistant to external selection pressures; due to both their relative dominance over other species/nature and the fact that the greatest threat to the survival of their genes would be the destruction of their community itself. In other words there was a tipping point at which, evolutionarily speaking, humans became their own worst enemies."

 

I've underlined a phrase. You say this "further evolution" occurred after we were already "bipedal, nomadic, omnivorous, self-aware, capable of simple problem solving, referential gestures and vocalizations, lived in communities, etc". I don't believe that, once we had reached that stage,there was much in the way of significant evolution, apart from such things as the ability to process lactose or, for Tibetans, live comfortably at high altitude. What stage in evolution does your characterisation apply to and what further evolution occurred later?

 

Secondly, aren't most species arguably in situations where they could be described as their own worst enemies?

 

When a human stares at the clouds, each may take on the identity of something that looks similar. The wind can howl like a wolf. A swaying tree can resemble a mother rocking her baby to sleep. This is possible because of the unique organization words allowed the human brain. When the human brain sees a sight, it does not compare that image to similar images, it compares the word associated with that image to words with similar images.

I don't doubt that this may be true for many people much of the time, but I do a lot of my thinking visually without reference - other than the initial trigger - to words. I am going to lunch later today with friends. Thinking about that brought forward visualisation of the restaurant, portions of the route, what I might eat, the individuals who would be there and only with great effort could I associate a word with any of this. And I made that effort only because of this topic. I would be surprised if I was unique in this regard.

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I believe that many uniquely human traits such as words, language, the imagination, human consciousness, etc, are results of evolutionary adaptations to the vocal-auditory system which produced the first "thought". I believe that thinking sparked the incredibly rapid evolution of the human brain, relatively speaking.

 

 

I`m not quite sure the traits described above as "uniquely" human really are such. One can argue animals also have words & languages, and as for imagination and consciousness, we have no way of knowing at present (personal opinion: don`t see why not).

Since this seems to be the foundation of your post I thought I`d mention that. Please note that I have zero "academic" knowledge on this subject, only my own thoughts and observations - hence it might be completely irrelevant.

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Thank you for the comments.

 

What stage in evolution does your characterisation apply to and what further evolution occurred later?

 

Secondly, aren't most species arguably in situations where they could be described as their own worst enemies?

 

I don't doubt that this may be true for many people much of the time, but I do a lot of my thinking visually without reference - other than the initial trigger - to words. I am going to lunch later today with friends. Thinking about that brought forward visualisation of the restaurant, portions of the route, what I might eat, the individuals who would be there and only with great effort could I associate a word with any of this. And I made that effort only because of this topic. I would be surprised if I was unique in this regard.

 

 

To your first point, I agree. I can't edit the OP anymore, but here is some wording that better reflects what I meant:

 

Our most recent evolutionary ancestors were bipedal, nomadic, omnivorous, self-aware, capable of simple problem solving, referential gestures and vocalizations, lived in communities, etc. As our ancestors reached this stage of evolution, they became more reliant on their community to provide insulation via food, child rearing, protection, etc. The community allowed each individual to become more and more resistant to external selection pressures; due to both their relative dominance over other species/nature and the fact that the greatest threat to the survival of their genes would be the destruction of or disbarment from their community. In other words there was a tipping point at which, evolutionary speaking, humans became their own worst enemies.

 

To your second point, I don't think this is true of any other species in terms of evolution. Could you explain what you mean better? I will try.

 

The biggest threats to the survival and reproduction of the individuals in a species are typically predators, food, shelter, weather, water, and sex. Mutations which help insulate individuals from these selection pressures will give these individuals a chance to live longer and have more babies than the other individuals in the population, causing the gene to propagate and eventually become a trait of the species.

 

Communities, along with all the other superior traits of humans, provided that insulation. Predators were fought in packs. Food was gathered or hunted and shared. Exceptional navigation abilities allowed those in temperate zones to travel as the seasons changed, along fresh water routes, decreasing the pressure for water and shelter and allowing them to survive through the winter. Further, living in a monogamous community all but guaranteed a mate, decreasing the pressure from sexual selection.

 

Thus, once an individual lived in a community as advanced as early human communities, it would not matter as much if he had a mutation that made him a little better at finding water, a little more handsome, a little stronger, etc. because the community already insulated genetic fitness from these selection pressures. While these traits might increase his status within the community, they would not have enough of a marginally beneficial effect to his genetic fitness to spread through the entire population without some serious genetic drift.

 

Meanwhile mutations that strengthened the ties within the community would be selected for, and mutations that conferred a genetic fitness benefit to an individual at the expense of the community would be selected for, then selected against, not only by other individuals but by the cheaters themselves, as the cheater mutations acted as a selection pressure that threatened the ties within the community. This was what I referred to as the tipping point, which allowed the evolutionary arms race to take place.

 

To your comment about mental visualization, I am jealous, as I don't consciously see such images unless I focus. But, that description fits perfectly within my model as a whole. To me, it only says that your brain "focuses" more on the visual associations with words than mine does. You said only with effort could you associate a word with the images, and it takes me effort to associate images with words, yet the two are already associated. So really, it just takes effort for us to consciously focus on both at once.

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Humans are not the only self aware social animals....

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I don't believe I ever suggested that they were. If you could, please elaborate on why you think that is important to the overall picture?

Edited by spoILAMS

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I don't believe I ever suggested that they were. If you could, please elaborate on why you think that is important to the overall picture?

 

 

I would like to ask why you think it is not. You name all these attributes with no evidence other than your own claims. I simply wanted to point out humans are not the only large brained social animals not even the largest brain to body ratio. By far not the largest brains or most complex nor the most complex behaviors. You need to provide some evidence and your post smells a little like a gish gallop...

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Maybe my post is a gish gallop, but I have posted this humbly seeking either help with the science or a logical refutation of what I have written, and you respond with non-sense because you are either unable or unwilling to do either of those and only care about upping your post count.

 

I think it is not important because of the tipping point, which I have written about.

 

I agree that humans are not the largest or only large brained social animals, and that they do not have the largest brain to body ratio. I disagree that they do not have the most complex brain or complex behaviors. Either way, not a debate I think will be useful to this thread.

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Maybe my post is a gish gallop, but I have posted this humbly seeking either help with the science or a logical refutation of what I have written, and you respond with non-sense because you are either unable or unwilling to do either of those and only care about upping your post count.

 

I think it is not important because of the tipping point, which I have written about.

 

I agree that humans are not the largest or only large brained social animals, and that they do not have the largest brain to body ratio. I disagree that they do not have the most complex brain or complex behaviors. Either way, not a debate I think will be useful to this thread.

My post count is meaningless, you how ever need to back up your baseless assertions... Might I suggest you break up your post into several specific posts and provide citations for your assumptions?

Edited by Moontanman

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As I have admitted twice now, I do need help with the science, however, your posts make it seem like you did not even read what I wrote. If you are just trying to bully, please stay out of this thread. I had hoped, and do hope, that someone who is able to help with the science will stumble across this thread. If I had scientific proof, I wouldn't be posting in a thread online.

 

However, for anyone with thoughtful discussion, there is scientific correlation for what I have written, and though some of what I have written is definitely assumptions, that is natural because I am throwing it all together in a very unique way. Certainly some of what I wrote has been from what I have read and learned, however, the heart of my argument was not something I found from science, yet I found over and over again that it had support in science, making it hard to let go of all this.

 

For example, I do have access to some references. It is very difficult for me but I will try to find time to go to the library for more. This will only make sense if you read the OP.

 

Evolution

  • Manhes P, Velicer GJ. Experimental evolution of selfish policing in social bacteria. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 2011;108(20):8357-8362. doi:10.1073/pnas.1014695108.
  • "In nature, evolution within cheater-infected lineage groups may proceed faster than the rate at which cheaters are passively lost from a population due to kin selection operating at the group level (33). Thus, local cheater frequencies might often be shaped by complex coevolutionary arms races in which diverse cooperators, cheaters, and policers cycle through phases of exploitation and resistance among socially cotransmitted lineages (19, 34)."

Literary Darwinism: Evolution, Human Nature, and Literature, By Joseph Carroll

 

"In cheating and the detection of cheating, some Darwinian social thinkers see an evolutionary arms race that is in large measure responsible for the development of human intelligence"

 

Thoughts: Internal Referential Gestures

To quote myself, "Imagine that one individual had a mutation such that he heard his own alarm call while he was calling and processed it and reacted to it as though it had come from someone else - by hearing it, experiencing intense fear and running - involuntarily altering his behavior, but increasing his chances of survival and thus passing on his genes."

 

Now consider mirror neurons. A mirror neuron is a neuron that fires both when an animal acts and when the animal observes the same action performed by another. Sound familiar?

From Wikipedia, on David McNeil, on attempting to explain the evolution of the "speech-gesture-thought unity of human cognition".

"According to Mead's Loop, mirror neurons underwent a "twist" whereby they came to respond to one’s own gestures as if they came from someone else: this is what evolved. The "twist" works because it brings the significance of one’s own gestures into the same areas of the brain where speech is being orchestrated""Mead’s Loop and the mirror neuron "twist" would be naturally selected in scenarios where sensing one’s own actions as social is advantageous. For example, in imparting information to infants, where it gives the adult the sense of being an instructor as opposed to being just a doer with an onlooker, as is the case with chimpanzees.[14] Entire cultural practices of childrearing depend upon this sense.[15][16] Self-awareness as an agent is necessary for this advantage to take hold. For Mead's Loop to have been selected the adult must be sensitive to her own gestures as social actions."

The Minds Eye

A saccade is one of the types of eye movements which helps the eyes focus in the external environment.There is science that shows saccades occur to internal memories of sound as well, however. For example,

http://visualmemoryresearch.org/topicA3.html

'*4 The Acoustic Experiences which can incite Vertical Saccades include:

1)  Hearing Music with both eyes closed , and with a digital downward traction applied to the upper lids ( tag ; ),
2 )  Listening, in status  , to the speech of others. The consonants and the prosody in the delivered speech patterns can trigger elevations of the globes, modulated in frequency and amplitude;
3)  Speaking aloud: Saccadic synkinesis is again present when the words are self- articulated ;
4)  Whispering the same phrase.. ( at 20 dB ? )
5)  Hummed Speech, although lacking in expletives , mode is effective . see “Processing Prosodic Boundaries in Natural and Hummed Speech. Ischebeck AK,2007, an fMRI Study.
6 )  Reminiscing .. silently re-thinking : Articulating a phrase or a brief comment , and then mentally re-iterating the identical phrase in silence can also replicate the previous patterned – excursions of the globes While these “ virtual – audio stimuli ” continue in silence , the oculomotor sequences may be videotaped, or recorded by EOG . Responses for up to 30 seconds may accompany some ten iterations when made using a three or four-seconds- silent- phrase, as this small packet is recapitulated in “private speech”.
7)  Inventing a Novel Phrase .. Mentation .. thinking-up but not expressing a novel phrase does not immediately trigger this oculomotor response , but after several iterations an oculomotor entrainment may continue for many cycles ;
Silent Steady Counting by seconds, or packaged as phrased triplets > 15 packets . With silent recitation of the alphabet , phonemes up to twenty gives inconsistent results .
That unvoiced , private speech can also generate this autonomous epi-phenomenon seemed remarkable ."

Indeed, at least one person wondered if all thoughts were "subvocalized" speech.

Cognitive Psychology, pg 12, By Robert J. Sternberg, Karin Sternberg

"John B. Watson proposed that thinking was nothing more than subvocalized speech."

Finally, is it possible for saccades to regulate an internal thought environment? Theoretically, yes, according to an robotics AI model.

Mental Saccades in Control of Cognitive Process Janusz A. Starzyk, Senior Member, IEEE

"Abstract—This paper proposes a cognitive architecture that uses mental saccades to perform cognitive search in support of motivated behavior and learning. It is intended to control behavior of robots in real environments and avatars that learn how to operate in virtual worlds. Mental saccade is a parallel concept to the visual saccade and yields sequential cognitive search for most likely solution to a problem. This model uses attention switching mechanism that combines the effect of observations, internal motivations and abstract cognitive planning. Thus, a system that uses this model, will not only follow its internal motivations but will also take advantage of opportunities that present themselves in the environment. This model is intended for development of computational cognition, learning and intelligence in a machine."

Edited by spoILAMS

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As I have admitted twice now, I do need help with the science, however, your posts make it seem like you did not even read what I wrote. If you are just trying to bully, please stay out of this thread. I had hoped, and do hope, that someone who is able to help with the science will stumble across this thread. If I had scientific proof, I wouldn't be posting in a thread online.

 

I think you've misunderstood. It's not bullying to ask for supportive evidence for assertions made the way you've made them. You're not asking questions about the science, you're saying "This is the way it is", and people are asking you to back that up. Nobody is asking you to "prove" anything. Another misunderstanding, since science isn't after proof of anything. It's all about the evidence you can find to support your arguments.

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As I have admitted twice now, I do need help with the science

 

 

!

Moderator Note

The proper procedure in that case is to ask questions in mainstream areas of the forum, rather than make pronouncements here in speculations. The role of the membership here is to poke holes in your thesis, and your role is to defend it. If you can't, you need to go and learn what you need to, in order to fill in those holes.

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I want holes to be poked, I want to defend it with scientific corroboration. If you think this is a crackpot theory, you would be doing me a huge personal favor by convincing me of that. I hope we can get back on track with thoughtful comments or questions. What specific points would you like to see scientific support on the most?

 

I mentioned earlier that "heart of my argument was not something I found from science, yet I found over and over again that it had support in science, making it hard to let go of all this."

 

Consider quote from article I just ran across

http://www.psychologicalscience.org/news/releases/internal-speech-is-driven-by-predictive-brain-signal.html#.WL2xeTvyvIU

"In two experiments, researcher Mark Scott of the University of British Columbia found evidence that a brain signal called corollary discharge — a signal that helps us distinguish the sensory experiences we produce ourselves from those produced by external stimuli — plays an important role in our experiences of internal speech.

The findings from the two experiments are published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

Corollary discharge is a kind of predictive signal generated by the brain that helps to explain, for example, why other people can tickle us but we can’t tickle ourselves. The signal predicts our own movements and effectively cancels out the tickle sensation.

And the same mechanism plays a role in how our auditory system processes speech. When we speak, an internal copy of the sound of our voice is generated in parallel with the external sound we hear.

“We spend a lot of time speaking and that can swamp our auditory system, making it difficult for us to hear other sounds when we are speaking,” Scott explains. “By attenuating the impact our own voice has on our hearing — using the ‘corollary discharge’ prediction — our hearing can remain sensitive to other sounds.”

Scott speculated that the internal copy of our voice produced by corollary discharge can be generated even when there isn’t any external sound, meaning that the sound we hear when we talk inside our heads is actually the internal prediction of the sound of our own voice."

Edited by spoILAMS

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To your first point, I agree. I can't edit the OP anymore, but here is some wording that better reflects what I meant:

 

Our most recent evolutionary ancestors were bipedal, nomadic, omnivorous, self-aware, capable of simple problem solving, referential gestures and vocalizations, lived in communities, etc. As our ancestors reached this stage of evolution, they became more reliant on their community to provide insulation via food, child rearing, protection, etc. The community allowed each individual to become more and more resistant to external selection pressures; due to both their relative dominance over other species/nature and the fact that the greatest threat to the survival of their genes would be the destruction of or disbarment from their community. In other words there was a tipping point at which, evolutionary speaking, humans became their own worst enemies.

OK. You still haven't made it clear whom you consider to be "our most recent evolutionary ancestors". Cro-magnon, early homo sapiens, homo erectus, homo ergaster, homo habilis, other? Without that defined it is impossible for me to understand what you are saying here.

 

 

 

To your second point, I don't think this is true of any other species in terms of evolution. Could you explain what you mean better?

You argue that man is unique in being "his own worst enemy".

 

If that is the case why are pandas so reluctant to mate?

Why, in contrast to the pandas, do so many species overbreed, outstrip their resources and thereby make Thomas Malthus appear correct?

 

Part of the problem I am finding her is that the phrase "own worst enemy" completely lack any quantitative element and as a qualitative statement is much more metaphor than descriptive scientific observation. Could you tighten up on your definition of "own worst enemy".

 

To your comment about mental visualization, I am jealous, as I don't consciously see such images unless I focus. But, that description fits perfectly within my model as a whole. To me, it only says that your brain "focuses" more on the visual associations with words than mine does. You said only with effort could you associate a word with the images, and it takes me effort to associate images with words, yet the two are already associated. So really, it just takes effort for us to consciously focus on both at once.

No. I have done a very poor job of saying what I meant. I should have made it clear that at times I very definitely do think with words and a practically total lack of visual images. However, when I thinking "visually" the words are simply not there. It is not a case of focusing on the visual associations generated by the words. It is a case of thinking entirely through imagery.

 

Once I have completed the thought process visually, if I need to communicate it to others, I have no difficulty at that point putting it into words. If I do not intend to communicate it to others I do not bother putting it into words since its meaning it already clear to me through the imagery.

 

 

I have noted several other points in your posts that simply seem wrong to me, but until we have addressed these first three I think we should defer those discussions.

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Thank you for the reply.

 

My best guess as to the time period for the intra-species arms race would be 50,000 to 80,000 years ago, so Homo Sapiens, since that is when the process of reaching behavioral modernity occurred.

 

By own worst enemy I mean that the mutations of humans became other humans single biggest selection pressure. The tipping point had been passed. Chalk it up to poor word choice and a knack for romanticism on my part. Let me refer you to the two scientific articles I posted under the "Evolution" part of my second to last post for more on the idea behind an intra-species arms race.

 

I understand what you are saying about imagery. Just like when you look around your room, there are just images, no words. I'm not sure what you want me to "address" here. I think the original line you were concerned about was:

 

"When the human brain sees a sight, it does not compare that image to similar images, it compares the word associated with that image to words with similar images."

 

Maybe a better line to have used would be "When the human brain hears a sound, it does not compare that sound to similar sounds, it compares the words associated with that sound to words with similar sounds".

 

For example, you are walking to your car from work and, you hear a loud BANG! What do you think? Probably, Gun, Crash, Bomb (if you live in a crowded city), etc. You don't "hear" similar sounds, you hear the words associated with similar sounds, and react to those.

 

Please come at me with anything else that seems wrong to you.

Edited by spoILAMS

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Thank you for the reply.

 

My best guess as to the time period for the intra-species arms race would be 50,000 to 80,000 years ago, so Homo Sapiens, since that is when the process of reaching behavioral modernity occurred.

 

By own worst enemy I mean that the mutations of humans became other humans single biggest selection pressure. The tipping point had been passed. Chalk it up to poor word choice and a knack for romanticism on my part. Let me refer you to the two scientific articles I posted under the "Evolution" part of my second to last post for more on the idea behind an intra-species arms race.

 

 

 

 

 

I'm not sure you are correct in your assertion comparing the evolution of humans to an arms race. I see it as more of a large gene pool slowly changing over time. As better adapted forms evolve the less adapted forms fail to pass on their genes and the entire gene pool changes. We see snap shots of that change in the fossil record and name the snap shots but in reality it was a more of a river where the tributaries unite to form a larger river. The tributaries don't go to war with each they merge into one. Gene flow over time is a better description than war. No doubt various hominid species coexisted and competed for resources but to suggest active aggression between the species is not supported by any data i am aware of.

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Thank you for the reply Moontanman.

 

Well put, and I agree completely. By arms race, I do not mean literal war or aggression.

 

Maybe Wikipedia can explain better than me

 

"In evolutionary biology, an evolutionary arms race is a struggle between competing sets of co-evolving genes, traits, or species, that develop adaptations and counter-adaptations against each other, resembling an arms race. These are often described as examples of positive feedback. The co-evolving gene sets may be in different species, as in an evolutionary arms race between a predator species and its prey (Vermeij, 1987), or a parasite and its host. Alternatively, the arms race may be between members of the same species, as in the manipulation/sales resistance model of communication (Dawkins & Krebs, 1979) or as in runaway evolution or Red Queen effects."

Edited by spoILAMS

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Evolution

Since we seem to be stuck on the evolution part of my post, wanted to share another article I just ran across that supports the gist of what I am saying in that regard.

 

Ecological dominance, social competition, and coalitionary arms races: Why humans evolved extraordinary intelligence. Mark Flinn, David Geary, Carol Ward. 2005. Evolution and Human Behavior 26 10-46

 

"Human cognitive abilities are extraordinary. Our large brains are significantly modified from those of our closest relatives, suggesting a history of intense natural selection. The conditions favoring the evolution of human cognitive adaptations, however, remain an enigma. Hypotheses based on traditional ecological demands, such as hunting or climatic variability, have not provided satisfying explanations. Recent models based on social problem solving linked with ecological conditions offer more convincing scenarios. But it has proven difficult to identify a set of selective pressures that would have been sufficiently unique to the hominin lineage. What was so special about the evolutionary environments of our ancestors that caused them, and them alone, to diverge in such astonishing ways from their close relatives and all other life forms? Richard Alexander proposed a comprehensive integrated explanation. He argued that as our hominin ancestors became increasing able to master the traditional hostile forces of nature, selective pressures resulting from competition among conspecifics became increasingly important, particularly in regard to social competencies. Given the precondition of competition among kin- and reciprocity-based coalitions (shared with chimpanzees), an autocatalytic social arms race was initiated, which eventually resulted in the unusual collection of traits characteristic of the human species, such as concealed ovulation, extensive biparental care, complex sociality, and an extraordinary collection of cognitive abilities. We term this scenario the ecological dominance–social competition (EDSC) model and assess the feasibility of this model in light of recent developments in paleoanthropology, cognitive psychology, and neurobiology. We conclude that although strong or direct tests are difficult with current data, Alexander’s model provides a far-reaching and integrative explanation for the evolution of human cognitive abilities that is consistent with evidence from a wide range of disciplines."

 

Thoughts

More support.

Mind and Its Evolution: A Dual Coding Theoretical Approach

pg 285 (I used google preview, so couldn't access most pages)

 

"The investigators concluded that monkeys perhaps responded to "mental representations [that] are not unlike those linked to the human linguistic concepts of leapord and eagle (Zuberbuhler et al. 1999, pg 41) . Thus, the representations are functionally equivalent to mental images"

l

Edited by spoILAMS

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For example, you are walking to your car from work and, you hear a loud BANG! What do you think? Probably, Gun, Crash, Bomb (if you live in a crowded city), etc. You don't "hear" similar sounds, you hear the words associated with similar sounds, and react to those.

I do not wish to ignore the rest of your reply, but to respond properly requires more time than I currently have. However, I do want to address the point above.

 

No! If I hear a loud bang I envisage the possible causes of the bang as mental images. I "see" a large metal sheet fall to the ground, or picture a shotgun going off. Words do not enter into my thoughts until and unless someone says to me, "What was that?"

 

Just now I heard a bird outside my bedroom window. In trying to identify the bird I called to mind images of the birds it might possibly have been. I did not think of the words used to describe the birds. Indeed, because we are having this discussion I attempted to assign the appropriate word to it, but all I came up with was variations of the mental picture of the bird. I only succeeded in producing the word "blackbird" when I imagined saying it to you.

 

I have discussed this with a handful of acquaintances since you first posted and they all think the same way. I know that my sample was in no way scientific, but it contradicts and falsifies your claim of universality for the human thought process.

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Thank you for the reply, I do appreciate the time you are taking. But I am afraid we are not understanding each other. It is probably because I have not been very clear.

 

I don't think what you have said to me contradicts or falsifies my claim. For example, to play devils advocate and make your argument for you more simply, a deaf-mute-blind person cannot process thoughts via internal speech at all.

 

I think you are considering my use of thoughts with the more specific and colloquial meaning: internal speech. To me, the fact that you can visually "look at" images in your mind is just further proof of the universality for the human thought process.

 

The thought is the internal referential communication which allows you to re-experience a memory; to see something as though you are seeing it, similar to my original example when the ape heard something as though he was hearing it. I do believe thoughts are activated by "words", either in the internal or external environments, however, only in certain circumstances will these words be consciously perceived as inner speech ("heard").

 

Let me quote myself, since this is definitely one of the more confusing parts of my topic.

 

"As thoughts became more complex and applied to various different social situations, re living the memory of not just sounds but also sights, tastes, smells, etc., would become crucial to identifying, predicting, explaining, and behaving towards objects in the internal and external environments. The evolution of a word solved this issue, as it is an anchor point for the activation and referencing of all five senses."

 

"A word then is a complex consisting of the memories of the senses which both activates and is activated by motor neurons; generally, movements of the larynx; the memory of the vibrations produced by sub vocalizations and vocalizations. However, the generally distinction is important; for example, when thinking about those who are deaf or cannot speak, or those who think in terms of images or feelings. My feelings on this are that while the vocal word itself was necessary for the evolution of the two-way bridge system, it is not necessary for proper functioning of it once the neural mechanisms were in place as long as there is another suitable sensory anchor point. This is why some people think in terms of words, some people in terms of images, some people in terms of emotions, etc."

Edited by spoILAMS

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Evolution

Since we seem to be stuck on the evolution part of my post, wanted to share another article I just ran across that supports the gist of what I am saying in that regard.

 

Ecological dominance, social competition, and coalitionary arms races: Why humans evolved extraordinary intelligence. Mark Flinn, David Geary, Carol Ward. 2005. Evolution and Human Behavior 26 10-46

 

"Human cognitive abilities are extraordinary. Our large brains are significantly modified from those of our closest relatives, suggesting a history of intense natural selection. The conditions favoring the evolution of human cognitive adaptations, however, remain an enigma. Hypotheses based on traditional ecological demands, such as hunting or climatic variability, have not provided satisfying explanations. Recent models based on social problem solving linked with ecological conditions offer more convincing scenarios. But it has proven difficult to identify a set of selective pressures that would have been sufficiently unique to the hominin lineage. What was so special about the evolutionary environments of our ancestors that caused them, and them alone, to diverge in such astonishing ways from their close relatives and all other life forms? Richard Alexander proposed a comprehensive integrated explanation. He argued that as our hominin ancestors became increasing able to master the traditional hostile forces of nature, selective pressures resulting from competition among conspecifics became increasingly important, particularly in regard to social competencies. Given the precondition of competition among kin- and reciprocity-based coalitions (shared with chimpanzees), an autocatalytic social arms race was initiated, which eventually resulted in the unusual collection of traits characteristic of the human species, such as concealed ovulation, extensive biparental care, complex sociality, and an extraordinary collection of cognitive abilities. We term this scenario the ecological dominance–social competition (EDSC) model and assess the feasibility of this model in light of recent developments in paleoanthropology, cognitive psychology, and neurobiology. We conclude that although strong or direct tests are difficult with current data, Alexander’s model provides a far-reaching and integrative explanation for the evolution of human cognitive abilities that is consistent with evidence from a wide range of disciplines."

 

Thoughts

More support.

Mind and Its Evolution: A Dual Coding Theoretical Approach

pg 285 (I used google preview, so couldn't access most pages)

 

"The investigators concluded that monkeys perhaps responded to "mental representations [that] are not unlike those linked to the human linguistic concepts of leapord and eagle (Zuberbuhler et al. 1999, pg 41) . Thus, the representations are functionally equivalent to mental images"

l

 

 

 

Have you considered non primate animals? Even cephalopods would seem to visualise their surroundings and can learn from watching others or even watching humans. Elephants show signs of complex thoughts, one actually speaks korean and recently a large bull african elephant actually approached game wardens for help with a bullet wound.

 

I'm not so sure the traits you mention are restricted to humans, in fact i would say the only trait restricted to humans is the use of fire. Animals of various sorts display all the other traits of humans to some degree and maybe even be more complex thoughts than humans. The singing of whales is quite complex and is thought to contain complex information possibly even three d pictures. Cephalopods definitely communicate with patterns and colors and show quite complex emotions via various color patterns and pulses.

 

I am I off the rails here? If so tell me and I'll give it a rest.

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I have considered non-primate animals, for example corvids, which are self aware, capable of simple problem solving, communicate through referential gestures, etc.

 

I will concede that I should not have used the word "unique" so many times, and although I disagree that animals have more complex brains and thoughts, that is a topic for another thread, as I 'm not sure how it relates to or disproves my theory.

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I have considered non-primate animals, for example corvids, which are self aware, capable of simple problem solving, communicate through referential gestures, etc.

 

I will concede that I should not have used the word "unique" so many times, and although I disagree that animals have more complex brains and thoughts, that is a topic for another thread, as I 'm not sure how it relates to or disproves my theory.

 

 

I'm not real sure what your theory is, you do use the term unique and defining complex would help, Sperm whales have the largest and most complex brains we know of, elephants are also unique in both brain size, complexity not to mention behaviors. A mormyrid (an electrical blind fish) has a larger brain to body ratio than humans not to mention complex behaviors.

 

Unique could also use some definition, both whales and elephants are known to have language and are able to share complex information. I would argue cephalopods are smarter than we are in significant ways. Corvids as you mention are capable of some amazing behaviors and communication interaction. They are able to communicate highly complex ideas between each other not to mention read human behavior better than we can all with a very small brain.

 

I am questioning your neutrality on this idea, to be honest I'm not sure a human can be neutral when trying to judge or compare non human intelligence with human intelligence. We have a natural bias, human chauvinism is written into our own behaviors.

 

So far you have not listed a single way humans are unique or superior to other animals... or at the very least listed a way we can know this...

Edited by Moontanman

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I appreciate your replies, and not to be mean, but please start your own thread if you want to talk about those things. I feel that you keep, intentionally or unintentionally, trying to change the conversation to one that has nothing to do with my OP. I just want to stay focused.

 

Thoughts

 

To further support the idea of repressed alarm calls as a possible first internal referential gesture, I just ran across an article that suggests a method for anti-cheating, as suggested in my OP.

 

Language Evolution: The Origin of Meaning in Primates. School of Psychology, University of St Andrews, St Andrews KY16 9JP, UK.

 

"These findings were interpreted as evidence of the males’ ability to keep track and remember which group members had and had not given alarm calls."

 

This is a perfect example of an "anti-cheater" trait that could be selected for were "cheaters" to emerge who were able to repress their alarm calls.

Edited by spoILAMS

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I want holes to be poked, I want to defend it with scientific corroboration. If you think this is a crackpot theory, you would be doing me a huge personal favor by convincing me of that. I hope we can get back on track with thoughtful comments or questions. What specific points would you like to see scientific support on the most?

 

I mentioned earlier that "heart of my argument was not something I found from science, yet I found over and over again that it had support in science, making it hard to let go of all this."

 

Consider quote from article I just ran across

http://www.psychologicalscience.org/news/releases/internal-speech-is-driven-by-predictive-brain-signal.html#.WL2xeTvyvIU

"In two experiments, researcher Mark Scott of the University of British Columbia found evidence that a brain signal called corollary discharge — a signal that helps us distinguish the sensory experiences we produce ourselves from those produced by external stimuli — plays an important role in our experiences of internal speech.

The findings from the two experiments are published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

Corollary discharge is a kind of predictive signal generated by the brain that helps to explain, for example, why other people can tickle us but we can’t tickle ourselves. The signal predicts our own movements and effectively cancels out the tickle sensation.

And the same mechanism plays a role in how our auditory system processes speech. When we speak, an internal copy of the sound of our voice is generated in parallel with the external sound we hear.

“We spend a lot of time speaking and that can swamp our auditory system, making it difficult for us to hear other sounds when we are speaking,” Scott explains. “By attenuating the impact our own voice has on our hearing — using the ‘corollary discharge’ prediction — our hearing can remain sensitive to other sounds.”

Scott speculated that the internal copy of our voice produced by corollary discharge can be generated even when there isn’t any external sound, meaning that the sound we hear when we talk inside our heads is actually the internal prediction of the sound of our own voice."

!

Moderator Note

The purpose of this section of the forum is not to prove other people's hypotheses for them. That's your job, as is specified clearly in the rules. You have made assertions here that if they are not completely pulled from thin air, one could only logically arrive at them by a review of scientific evidence. Where is that evidence in you post? It is not our job to find it for you. At least one of these claims (namely, resistance to selection pressures)was criticised heavily in your past thread on this topic, and despite agreeing with it, you've made no attempt to change it in your text.

 

What swansont was getting at is that this forum is for people to defend their already formed ideas, not request people to come up with the evidence for them. If you have specific questions about things you are not sure of, then you can post those questions in the main section.

 

I am closing this thread for the above reasons, but also because we don't generally allow members to post multiple threads on the same topic.

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