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Discussion in 'Channel Zero' started by ubejinxed, Nov 20, 2003.

  1. ubejinxed

    ubejinxed Veteran Member

    Joined: Apr 12, 2001 Messages: 7,543 Likes Received: 3
    it's such a simple thing and we do it everyday every minute, sometimes it has no great effect on the immediate or in the future, but other choices have a huge impact. sometimes it's unconscious instinctual, sometimes its pre-meditated and requires much thought and deliberation. it's interesting to think that every choice has a ripple effect that can impact others, and yourself.

    i think this is a huge differentiator between us and animals along with self-awareness. i mean how often in an 'animals' life do they make conscious decisions as opposed to instinct or need? we are self aware and can calculate and think about some of the repercussions of a choice, but can animals? or do they just act?

    maybe someone can shed some light on this for me. or share your thoughts on the differentiation between our choices and our nature from animals. or give examples of choices that you've tracked the impact.

    almost friday...
  2. ubejinxed

    ubejinxed Veteran Member

    Joined: Apr 12, 2001 Messages: 7,543 Likes Received: 3
    oh yah these questions culminated from reading "east of eden" by steinbeck and "next of kin" - a book about teaching chimpanzees to sign
  3. http://www.celebritywonder.com/mp/2003_The_Matrix_Revolutions/2003_the_matrix_revolution_044.jpg'>

    "Choice is an illusion, created between those with power, and those without. Look there, at that woman. My God, just look at her. Affecting everyone around her, so obvious, so bourgeois, so boring. But wait...

    ...watch - you see, I have sent her dessert, a very special dessert. I wrote it myself. It starts so simply, each line of the program creating a new effect, just like poetry. First, a rush... heat... her heart flutters. You can see it, Neo, yes? She does not understand why - is it the wine? No. What is it then, what is the reason? And soon it does not matter, soon the why and the reason are gone, and all that matters is the feeling itself.

    This is the nature of the universe. We struggle against it, we fight to deny it, but it is of course pretense, it is a lie. Beneath our poised appearance, the truth is we are [b]com-ple-tely-out-of-con-trol.[/b]

    Causality. There is no escape from it, we are forever slaves to it. Our only hope, our only peace is to understand it, to understand the 'why'. 'Why' is what separates us from them, you from me. 'Why' is the only real social power, without it you are powerless. And this is how you come to me, without 'why', without power. Another link in the chain. But fear not, since I have seen how good you are at following orders, I will tell you what to do next. Run back, and give the fortune teller this message: Her time is almost up. Now I have some real business to do, I will say adieu and goodbye."
  4. Pilau Hands

    Pilau Hands Guest

    when it comes to small things, i seem to make the wrong ones pretty steadily.

    it's the small things that add up.
  5. ubejinxed

    ubejinxed Veteran Member

    Joined: Apr 12, 2001 Messages: 7,543 Likes Received: 3
    ok mr martix. i didn't see that one, sorry.

    so i guess, maybe then self awareness or your 'why' would be the crux of our differentiation not just the choice alone. but i don't think that many animals make conscious 'choices'

    so are people more elevated the more self aware they are and if they have more insight into their own actions?
  6. swiss cheese

    swiss cheese Senior Member

    Joined: Sep 4, 2002 Messages: 1,262 Likes Received: 0
    I completely think so. Of course this is one factor of many, but being "self aware" and thinking before acting, being in "control" of your mind, instincts, and emotions has the amazing ability to make life run smoother. Think of life in the metaphor of climbing a tree (work with me I'm making this up as I go). This metaphor works well with the idea of elevating. There are many branches each branching out onto another. You can premeditate your climb, look ahead, and keep a clear steady mind and relaxed emotions so that you climb smooth and careful. You'll test the smaller branches to see if they'll break under your weight, and you'll look beyond the large branch your on to see if there are other "outlets" or good subsidiary branches to continue climbing on. Of course you can stop pretty quickly on a large well protected branch and just "camp out" until the tree is cut down (what fun is that?) or you can continue to explore higher and higher into unstable terrain.
    Wild, careless climbing can lead to a quick fall on a broken branch. Of course some luck and instinct is involved, but you only have so much luck before a wild swing to an unknown branch ends in a face in the mud with the consequences of death or a restart from the base.
    Is your goal to reach the top leaf, explore as many branches as possible, or just find a nice stable one with fruit to sleep on?
    I could go on, but I'll end it here as you get the point.
    wait, was this even what you asked? I think I went off on the wrong branch!:) My point is WE have more control of or destinies than other animals do.
  7. !@#$%

    [email protected]#$% Moderator Crew

    Joined: Oct 1, 2002 Messages: 18,517 Likes Received: 623
    learning from one's mistakes is vital..
    otherwise one just continuously falls into the same behavior patterns..which is not always a bad thing, but i like variety in life, and i also have done well to break free of some of the nagative cycles i got entrenched in..

    elevation of the mind and spirit has to do with many things, i believe that insights into multiple viewpoints and philosophies is integral to that, as well as experience and perspective.

    ..i believe that certain animals are able to think in terms of consequence
    a lot of speices are much smarter than what hey are given credit for..
    and what if 'instincts' could be altered over a time based on consequence?
    ..it's hard to elucidate how such an automatic response is formulated.

    some [weak] evidence that animals know consequence and modify behavior on that basis..

    Functional specialization within medial frontal cortex of the anterior cingulate for evaluating effort-related decisions.
    Walton ME, Bannerman DM, Alterescu K, Rushworth MF.
    Department of Experimental Psychology, Oxford, OX1 3UD, United Kingdom. [email protected]
    The rat medial frontal cortex (MFC) has been implicated in allowing animals to work harder to receive larger rewards. However, it is unknown what role the individual MFC regions [anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) and prelimbic-infralimbic cortex (PL-IL)] play in such decision making. To investigate this, we trained rats on a T-maze cost-benefit task with two possible courses of action, shown previously to be affected by complete MFC lesions. One response involved climbing a 30 cm barrier to obtain a large quantity of reward (high cost-high reward), whereas the other had a lower energetic demand but also a smaller reward gain (low cost-low reward). Before surgery, all animals preferred to select the high cost-high reward option. However, after excitotoxic ACC lesions, there was a complete reversal of behavior, with the ACC group selecting the low cost-low reward response on nearly every trial. In contrast, both control animals and rats with PL-IL lesions continued to choose to climb the barrier for the larger reward. When the same rats were tested on a delayed match-to-sample paradigm however, it was the PL-IL group that was significantly impaired at learning the response rule, with the performance of ACC rats being comparable with controls. This double dissociation indicates that the ACC is the important region within the MFC when evaluating how much effort to expand for a specific reward.
    PMID: 12878688 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
  8. !@#$%

    [email protected]#$% Moderator Crew

    Joined: Oct 1, 2002 Messages: 18,517 Likes Received: 623
    some better evidence on animals; their ability to choose and respond

    Nature. 2003 Sep 18;425(6955):297-9.
    Monkeys reject unequal pay.

    Brosnan SF, De Waal FB.
    Living Links, Yerkes National Primate Research Center, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia 30329, USA. [email protected]

    During the evolution of cooperation it may have become critical for individuals to compare their own efforts and pay-offs with those of others. Negative reactions may occur when expectations are violated. One theory proposes that aversion to inequity can explain human cooperation within the bounds of the rational choice model, and may in fact be more inclusive than previous explanations. Although there exists substantial cultural variation in its particulars, this 'sense of fairness' is probably a human universal that has been shown to prevail in a wide variety of circumstances. However, we are not the only cooperative animals, hence inequity aversion may not be uniquely human. Many highly cooperative nonhuman species seem guided by a set of expectations about the outcome of cooperation and the division of resources. Here we demonstrate that a nonhuman primate, the brown capuchin monkey (Cebus apella), responds negatively to unequal reward distribution in exchanges with a human experimenter. Monkeys refused to participate if they witnessed a conspecific obtain a more attractive reward for equal effort, an effect amplified if the partner received such a reward without any effort at all. These reactions support an early evolutionary origin of inequity aversion.
  9. swiss cheese

    swiss cheese Senior Member

    Joined: Sep 4, 2002 Messages: 1,262 Likes Received: 0
    Of course animals make choices. I don't need some scientists to tell me that.
    My cat sips from my cereal bowl when I'm not looking and gets a nice slap on the face. Next time, the cat comes to the bowl I move my hand slightly and he knows what to expect and "chooses" to NOT sip from my cereal bowl. Good decision. Now he doesn't even bother,just sits back and watches.
    Humans go beyond just making decisions based on failure and consequence though. We anticipate and make moves farther into the future.
  10. --zeSto--

    --zeSto-- Veteran Member

    Joined: Jul 12, 2000 Messages: 6,979 Likes Received: 2
    I think that animals are way more driven by instinct
    where as the 'self-aware' humans will disregard instinct
    just so that they can tout the virtues of free will.

    Let me give an example:
    Humans were not ment to fly, but because we can invent
    technology that will permit us to fly, we figure it's all part
    of 'natures' plan' for us to do so. Ha Ha.. take that nature.
  11. !@#$%

    [email protected]#$% Moderator Crew

    Joined: Oct 1, 2002 Messages: 18,517 Likes Received: 623
    no, that is operant conditioning.
    not choice.
  12. ubejinxed

    ubejinxed Veteran Member

    Joined: Apr 12, 2001 Messages: 7,543 Likes Received: 3
    thanks for the articles [email protected]#$% .

    i can understand the different reponses to enequal reward but the refusal of participation resulting in no reward is interesting. u would think that if there was any reward they would go for it out of instinct instead of choosing to make a 'statement'
  13. swiss cheese

    swiss cheese Senior Member

    Joined: Sep 4, 2002 Messages: 1,262 Likes Received: 0
  14. !@#$%

    [email protected]#$% Moderator Crew

    Joined: Oct 1, 2002 Messages: 18,517 Likes Received: 623
    obviously, i am employing free will as an aspect..

    at its simplest, and for my reasoning purposes, i would define it as "[the use of free will to] make a selection of a particular option from a group [of options]"

    i believe that [some species of] animals have such a 'free will', (sometimes this concept is reserved in philosophical discourse as a quality that separates humans from animals)

    these experiments can be carefully constructed so that the animal makes a decision..not a trained action..

    as ube said ..those monkeys decided to make a statement to their caretakers about the reward system structure...there was clearly consideration of outcome beyond just whether or not they would be beaten if they approached a certain object
    (that is classic negative reinforcement..there is very little debate that 'trained' animals, such as your cat, are not makeing decisions)
  15. Refer to the Merovingian speech above.

    Not but really... I think it is fairly obvious that animals can make choices to some degree, but never on the level of complexity that humans can. You will hardly ever see an animal make a wise choice, other than out of sheer luck, without any prior trial and error or buildup of experiences that would lead to a conditioned response.

    I remember a long time ago, when I was 12 or so, at a friend's house near the beach. I was sitting around in the front porch, facing the front lawn and a cyclone fence that separated it from the sidewalk. On the lawn there was an almond tree, which birds loved. And in from the street flies this "chango", which is a black bird that looks just like a crow but is much, much smaller, and lands next to a fairly large almond on the floor. It starts to peck at it to open it, but then it notices me, and jumps back. He looks back and forth between me and the almond, then finally grabs it and tries to fly away with it. It's too heavy to fly with, and it just falls right off its mouth. It came right back, and looked visibly torn between two choices: eat the almond right there in front of me, risking danger (not that I was gonna hurt it, but it didn't know that), or fly away safely with no food. What happened afterwards was pretty damn amazing...

    The bird went over to the cyclone fence and stared at it for a few moments, then looked at a broken spot in the fence, which was at about beak height for the bird. Then he comes back to the almond, and half-carries, half-pushes it over to where the fence is. The almond was too big to fit through the links, so the bird goes over to the broken spot, which has a larger aperture, lifts the almond, and throws it through the opening. It then flies over the fence to other side, and resumes pecking at the almond, safe and out of my reach.

    This was all on a first-try basis, and the bird seemed to have looked at the options before making a decision. I understand there is a difference between this and choice per se, but the fact that the bird had two basic options at first, and opted for neither in favor of looking around for a third was amazing to me. Now, there's a perfectly good chance the bird has done that exact same procedure several times before, but still...

    And anyways, I feel that the process involved in human choice-making and animal choice-making is inherently not that different... it's all based on previous experience and conditioning of some sort. Obviously the human brain is equipped with the ability to abstract a huge number of these previous experiences and compile them into an almost subconscious format that enables us to evaluate and make complex decisions without sometimes even noticing the reason why we make them. Choice-making in animals is geared toward very simple outcomes, such as a basic reward, food, survival, etc., and for that, all they need is limited learning ability and a bit of sequential logic. When humans have to deal with emotional choices that could have branching consequences that may not be very concrete, the brain has to dig in an enormous amount of stored information about past experiences.

    It goes hand in hand... the more sophisticated an organism's minds is, the more it is able to make complex choices, without even noticing how complex they are.