Babies are born with reflexes (IRM-FAP’s).  I wonder if the corresponding models mirror the reflexes.  It’s certainly a better place to start than a) all connection weights set to zero or b) connection weights set to random values.

How do babies to imitation?  How does the organization make the connection between what is seen at its own body?  Is the basic rule for babies: imitate unless homeostatic needs dictate otherwise?

“No” is an active response.  Absence of “no” seems to indicate “no objection”.

With respect to internal models, updating the model is not the trick.  The trick is turning off the Plant (effectors) for the purpose of thinking about actions.  Being able to talk to oneself is an outgrowth of being able to think about actions without acting.  The model can only be updated when action is taken, because that’s the only time the model can get an error signal.  Well, that’s true when the model models an internal process.  It’s interesting question to consider when a model of an external process gets updated.

An appeal to parsimony would suggest that a model of an external process gets updated when the model is being used, shall I say, unconsciously.  That is, if we assume a model of an external process is some kind of generalization of a model of an internal process, then the circumstances under which a model of an external process is updated will be some kind of generalization of the circumstances under which a model of an internal process is updated.

As an off the wall aside, this might account for the difficulty humans experience in psychotherapeutic circumstances.  Simply thinking about one’s worldview and recognizing that it should be changed is, by my model, not going to change one’s worldview.  In effect, change to an unconscious process can only take place unconsciously.

Margaret Foerster (personal communication) indicates that in her therapeutic experience, change begins when a patient is confronted with a highly specific example of his/her maladaptive behavior.  Not all highly specific examples have the effect of initiating change, but examples that do are recognizable by the therapist from the reaction of the patient (who also recognizes at a “gut” level) the significance of the example.  That is, the example creates a state in which the predictions of the patient’s internal model do not match the actual results.  To the extent that the internal model was invoked automatically rather than using the model analytically, the mismatch triggers (by my hypothesis) the (automatic) model correction (learning) process.

Foerster observes that in the sequel to such a significant therapeutic intervention, the patient experiences (and reports) additional related mismatches.  I don’t know that my model has anything to say about the fact that such mismatches are experienced consciously.  Nonetheless, I would be surprised to find that an unconscious model would change in a major way in response to a single mismatch.  I would rather expect gradual change based on accumulating evidence of consistently erroneous predictions.  On the other hand, I would expect the model to respond fairly rapidly to correct itself.  Notice that I say “correct itself”.  That is my way of indicating that the process is unconscious and not directly accessible, although significant change will manifest itself in the form of a recognizably (to both patient and therapist) different “way of thinking”.

Actually, I don’t think I have to worry about the fact that the mismatches Foerster describes are experienced consciously.  On reflection, I think mismatches are experienced consciously.  For example, when one is not paying attention and steps off a curb, the mismatch between expectation (no curb) and reality (sudden drop in the level of the ground) is most assuredly experienced consciously.

But back to the double life of models: it is all very well to say that a model can be used off line and that the experience of so doing is a mental image of some sort, but aside from the question of how a model is placed on line or off line, there remains the question of how inputs to the off line model are created.  Not to mention, of course, the question of why we “experience” anything.  So far, it would seem that there is nothing in a description of human behavior from the outside (for example, as seen by a Martian) that would lead one to posit “experience”, aside, that is, from our hetero phenomenological reports of “experience”.  That’s still a stumper.

Query: do hetero phenomenological reports of “experience” require the faculty of language?  Without the faculty of language how could one obtain a hetero phenomenological report?  How could one interpret such a report?  Is it the case that the only way a Martian can understand a hetero phenomenological report is to learn the language in which the report is made?  How much of the language?

Would it be sufficient for a Martian who only understood some form of pidgin like “me happy feelings now”.  The point seems to be that somehow English speakers generally come to understand what the word “experience” means and can use in appropriate hetero phenomenological contexts.  What would be necessary for a Martian to understand what “experience” means?

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