Instincts As Imprinted Response Reactions

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boagie
 
Reply Wed 11 Jun, 2008 07:56 am
Y'all,Smile

Instincts as imprinted response reactions seems an inescapable reality, a given context perhaps its primer, a certain sound, sight, smell or pattern recognition the trigger, it is in a sense condensed thought, for instant reaction to the immediacy of threat. In nature the enduring it seems governs the more temporal, this represented as the subject and object of organism and its context, however in nature the context is the enduring, while humanity has turned this around, and the context is in constant change, so, our imprinted response reactions are inappropriate to the context---we are an emotionally confused species it would seem. What are your thought on the subject??
 
Khethil
 
Reply Wed 11 Jun, 2008 08:08 am
@boagie,
Sure.

I especially agree with the 'contextual' aspect as you inferred. Instincts get reinterpreted subconsciously (or perhaps even consciously), reactions with instinctual basis are shoe-horned into the context in which we're in.

Confused? Yea probably... I'd add that interpretation and reaction to instinctual impulses are manifest in a variety of ways and constantly refocused/adapted to the situation's we're in now.

Physiological reactions still occur, much as they have for eons, its only the specific setting that's changed.

Good stuff...
 
boagie
 
Reply Wed 11 Jun, 2008 08:52 am
@Khethil,
Khethil,Smile

I agree the process of forming if you will, even if never complete, new reactions to new circumstances or context is happening at the moment. In the meanwhile, we are stuck with some inappropriate behaviours that are only relative to past contexts, which nolonger exist.
 
urangutan
 
Reply Thu 26 Jun, 2008 06:04 am
@boagie,
I would think, rather than accept the idea that we are born with instincts, that unlike those in a particular species where the entire speicies has the same pattern of instinct, stillness in time of danger, humans are born with their own bookmarks that conditioning helps allow for development. Suckling of course is something we all share but we all seem to share amongst a myriad of reactions to the same event. This has been from the onset of the sensual contact. It is like being dealt a hand in poker though as the conditions in a parent does not necessarily evovle from the child. For it to be imprinted it would have to be genetic and of this I would have to be sceptical.
 
Aedes
 
Reply Thu 26 Jun, 2008 08:16 am
@urangutan,
Instincts are what they are and they're neurodevelopmentally ingrained. Face it, when it comes to instinctual behavior we're animals just like any other. The addition of our complex frontal lobe to this mix is that we can override instinctual behavior given enough of a chance. So we can't avoid flinching when we see a baseball headed at our face, but we can avoid farting in mixed company even though we have the sensation.

Consider that our cell membranes are made of phospholipid bilayers just like EVERY cell in existence all the way down to archaebacteria. Consider that our cells split phosphates off of ATP in order to provide energy for cellular functions -- just like EVERY eukaryotic cell and virtually all prokaryotes. Consider all the biological things that unite humans with even the most primitive organisms.

If our most fundamental physiology is so similar (if not identical) to all other life forms, then why is it any sort of conundrum that certain innate behaviors of ours should be outside of our conscious control? The faculties that separate humans from nonhumans extend to relatively few things in our existence. It so happens, however, that philosophy is one of them Wink
 
Holiday20310401
 
Reply Thu 26 Jun, 2008 05:29 pm
@Aedes,
Would you say that acting through 'the heart' is an instinct? If so, then is that proof of a universal moral foundation set upon humanity when we evolved.
 
boagie
 
Reply Thu 26 Jun, 2008 07:04 pm
@Holiday20310401,
Holiday20310401 wrote:
Would you say that acting through 'the heart' is an instinct? If so, then is that proof of a universal moral foundation set upon humanity when we evolved.


Holiday,Smile

If you are speaking of compassion, that seems to be something we share with the rest of the animal world. In animals it often seems limited to their own families and or groups, not unlike the limitations of many people. I do not think it is entirely instinctive though, there are those born without the ability to feel compassion for others, instinct, perhaps a natural characteristic that found fertile soil in the making of societies where it could develop.
 
Aedes
 
Reply Thu 26 Jun, 2008 09:11 pm
@Holiday20310401,
Holiday20310401 wrote:
Would you say that acting through 'the heart' is an instinct? If so, then is that proof of a universal moral foundation set upon humanity when we evolved.
Proof? Not based on an assertion alone.

But what IS proof (or at least evidence) of this are the empirical studies showing that humans cross-culturally make similar moral choices; and that simple positive moral decisions are reproduced by animals other than humans.

Read this great review of the subject:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/13/magazine/13Psychology-t.html
 
Ron C de Weijze
 
Reply Fri 27 Jun, 2008 08:31 am
@boagie,
Instinct is the sensing organism sensing the sensed environment. Intellect is the knowing organism knowing the known environment. Sensing and knowing are co-ordinated by intuition. That is how I see it, thanks to Bergson.
http://www.pmm.nl/my%20pictures/rollmodel%204c.jpg
 
Aedes
 
Reply Fri 27 Jun, 2008 08:49 am
@Ron C de Weijze,
Ron C. de Weijze wrote:
Instinct is the sensing organism sensing the sensed environment.
No, that's simply sensation, not instinct. Instinct is a subconsciously mediated behavioral response. Furthermore, instincts do not happen only because of sensing the environment. There are internal sensations that provoke instinctual behaviors and reflexes. Hunger provokes food-seeking behavior. The sensation of a full bladder or bowel provokes behavior to relieve that sensation. Drowsiness provokes sleep-seeking behavior. Sensation of falling provokes protective reflexes, like putting out your hands to break a fall. All these are proprioceptive sensations, i.e. sensation of self.
 
Ron C de Weijze
 
Reply Fri 27 Jun, 2008 09:08 am
@Aedes,
Aedes, have you ever studied how the senses evolved, such as the eye? How organs and limbs developed in different animals, adapting them to their habitat? How the human brain and his central and peripheral nervous systems are our adaptation to our environment? These limbs and organs are the sources of their instincts and so is ours. Bergson called intuition 'the fringe of instinct'.
 
Aedes
 
Reply Fri 27 Jun, 2008 09:24 am
@Ron C de Weijze,
Ron C. de Weijze wrote:
Aedes, have you ever studied how the senses evolved, such as the eye? How organs and limbs developed in different animals, adapting them to their habitat? How the human brain and his central and peripheral nervous systems are our adaptation to our environment?
Yes, I have Ron, I'm a pediatric subspecialist and developmental biology is integral to both normal pediatrics and congenital disorders (i.e. embryologic errors). Much research is done using comparative anatomy in animals. Furthermore, my honors thesis in college was based on 2 years of developmental biology lab work.

Did Bergson ever study this? He died in 1941, long before we'd gathered our present understanding of biology.

I did not deny, if you'll reread my posts, that our nervous system and sense organs have developed in response to both external and internal sensory input. My only disagreements with you were 1) that the word instinct should apply specifically to behaviors or at least behavioral impulses, and 2) that internal sensations (like proprioception, balance, visceral sensations) provoke instinctual behaviors too.
 
Ron C de Weijze
 
Reply Fri 27 Jun, 2008 09:57 am
@Aedes,
Aedes, Bergson was primarily a biologist. The sensed environment includes the sensing organism. Why should instinct not describe the carriers and generators of impulses?
 
Aedes
 
Reply Fri 27 Jun, 2008 02:51 pm
@Ron C de Weijze,
Ron C. de Weijze wrote:
Aedes, Bergson was primarily a biologist.
A lot has changed in the 67 years since his death and 90-100 years since most of his writings appeared, particularly in his field of evolutionary biology. And be sure that evolutionary biology is pretty far removed from animal behavior and neurobiology, which is at the heart of what an instinct is.

Quote:
The sensed environment includes the sensing organism.
Then how does the word "environment" retain any meaning if it also refers to the sensing organism?

Yes, of course there is an integral relationship between the organism and its environment. But you have to be capable of conceptually separating an organism from its environment in order to study an environment with different organisms -- or study the same organism in a different environment.

Quote:
Why should instinct not describe the carriers and generators of impulses?
Because instinct is a specific thing that describes (and is defined as) a type of biologically innate behavior. The word does not include the animal that contains the instinct. I mean if you don't believe me go scour various definitions of instinct. It all boils down to a behavioral impulse and/or response in a given organism under given conditions.
 
boagie
 
Reply Fri 27 Jun, 2008 04:28 pm
@Aedes,
Aedes,Smile

Indeed for every organism within a give environment the trigger to response would be different, would it not? Is there a proper name for the concept of organism and environment as one open unit.
 
Aedes
 
Reply Fri 27 Jun, 2008 07:00 pm
@boagie,
boagie wrote:
Indeed for every organism within a give environment the trigger to response would be different, would it not?
I don't know, I mean aside from subtle variations in threshold, I think that everything from gazelles to zebras to gnus to warthogs know what to do when they see a lion about to attack them.

Quote:
Is there a proper name for the concept of organism and environment as one open unit.
If you're talking about AN environment or AN ecosystem, then that concept can refer to the species living within a geographic area as well as the environmental features of the area.

But if you're using the word to refer to the external environment, then you're not talking about an ecosystem. Think of the animal plus the ecosystem as E and the animal is A. The external environment, therefore, is E - A. For the purposes of Ron's reference to sensation, it would be E - A where E is directly accessible to the sensory organs of A.
 
boagie
 
Reply Sat 28 Jun, 2008 01:03 am
@Aedes,
Aedes wrote:
I don't know, I mean aside from subtle variations in threshold, I think that everything from gazelles to zebras to gnus to warthogs know what to do when they see a lion about to attack them.

If you're talking about AN environment or AN ecosystem, then that concept can refer to the species living within a geographic area as well as the environmental features of the area.

But if you're using the word to refer to the external environment, then you're not talking about an ecosystem. Think of the animal plus the ecosystem as E and the animal is A. The external environment, therefore, is E - A. For the purposes of Ron's reference to sensation, it would be E - A where E is directly accessible to the sensory organs of A.


Aedes,Smile

I can understand that for research purposes it is necessary to separate the organism from the environment, for the same reason in philosophy that we separate subject and object in discussion of reality, but, reality is subject and object as one, separate them and you have nothing. I know I might be side tracking things a little here when its at a particular focus, but, I do believe that the premise holds true. Can one ernestly hold the concept of fish in the absence of water for long, without thinking dead. There is indeed no such thing as a closed system, the concept closed system might be handy in the lab, but it bares not on reality. Though you might deem the concept a distraction from the point being made, such an misunderstanding could lead to further difficulties.

PS: I hope you fellows can keep this dialogue going--- great stuff!!Very Happy
 
Aedes
 
Reply Sat 28 Jun, 2008 05:40 am
@boagie,
Boagie,
Instinct is a biological concept, so why object to discussing it in those terms? You can philosophize about instinct, but that doesn't affect what it IS, it only affects what it means.

Your discussion of subject / object here is also a matter of your level of resolution. I can talk about the universe, which contains all animals and all environments within one concept. Or I can talk about the Amazon jungle, which contains all of its constituent animals and all of its constituent microenvironments as one concept.

But if we're talking about the nature of instinct in Amazonian coral snakes, then the only way to understand their behavior is to understand the specific features of the environment and regard there to be a sensory interface between the two.

boagie wrote:
reality is subject and object as one, separate them and you have nothing
Subject and object are always separated, otherwise you cannot specify action or predication, no concepts, and no language. It is developmentally innate for us to understand the difference between subject and object, or at least those would be the findings of people like Noam Chomsky.

Quote:
Can one ernestly hold the concept of fish in the absence of water for long, without thinking dead.
This analogy has nothing at all to do with what I was talking about, and this should be pretty obvious from my posts. Again, this is pretty simple -- instincts are behaviors or impulses to behaviors; they are performed by animals in response to external sensations from the environment or internal sensations from their own body. If a jaguar is running after prey, its internal sensation of hunger and the vision of external prey trigger its instinct to pursue. In other words, you are not ignoring the external environment at all, and you're only separating it insofar as the animal itself needs to have an independent definition for its unique biology to be understood.
 
boagie
 
Reply Sat 28 Jun, 2008 11:53 am
@Aedes,
Aedes,Smile

Yes thank you Aedes! Seems I am in need of reading on the subject. Interesting thread I am learning all over the place--------great stuff!!
 
Ron C de Weijze
 
Reply Sat 28 Jun, 2008 04:31 pm
@Aedes,
RCdW wrote:
The sensed environment includes the sensing organism
Aedes wrote:
Then how does the word "environment" retain any meaning if it also refers to the sensing organism?

In sensing (instinct), the sensing organism is part of the sensed environment, while in knowing, the known environment is part of the knowing organism (as in my drawing).

RCdW wrote:

Why should instinct not describe the carriers and generators of impulses?
Aedes wrote:
It all boils down to a behavioral impulse and/or response in a given organism under given conditions.


I agree. I only add that the stimulus from the sensed environment travelling into the sensing organism, is picked up and returned by the knowing organism into the known environment, where the sensed environment picks it up again (if it is made knowledgeable through behavior). Then the cycle starts over. The posteriori part is instinct; the priori part is intellect; their coordination is intuition. Intuition of duration in Bergson's metaphysics.
 
 

 
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