100 Step Rule

The 100 Step Rule in neuroscience asserts that approximately 100 neural transitions take place from sensory input to reaction to it. This rule is useful in considering both the parallel and sequential aspects to thinking in the brain. For instance, a million optical nerves come into the cortex. They are handled all at once, in parallel. However, it takes a neuron about 5 milliseconds to generate an action potential, but it takes 500 milliseconds to react to an image. The conclusion is that about 100 neural thresholds must be surmounted before we grasp the perception and react to it.

Neural Threshold

When the neural threshold is exceeded, it fires. Any detail from the neuron’s inputs beyond that it fired is lost. Each time the neural threshold is exceeded, abstraction – loss of detail – occurs.

These 100 neural thresholds represent 100 levels of increasing abstraction as the information ascends the concept elevator.

A seawall, like the neural threshold, only lets some waves pass

A seawall, like the neural threshold, only lets some waves pass

Concept Elevator

Information travels the concept elevator is two directions. From sensory data in, up 100 flights to the decision-making center and then the decision itself down 100 stops until it reaches motor control.

The sensory floors meet a number of floors up. The motor decisions take separate paths as the particular action becomes more specific.

Three shafts in an elevator tower, like the multiple streams the brain must deal with

Three shafts in an elevator tower, multiple streams as the brain must handle

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