Links are to Mental Constructions pages or posts, unless noted as off-site.

Word Definition MC Aspect
Abstraction 1. a type of concept, without all details. 2. there are many levels of abstraction. E.g. chicken from close (tastes like chicken) to remote (brave in speech, maybe not brave in action) As sensations become more abstract, each comes to cover a broader range of incoming perceptions and remembered relationships.
Algorithm Sequences of operations that can be repeated that guarantee a solution to the problem Typical of traditional computer models of problem-solutions.
Almost Gate
Neural electrical characteristics WikiCommons

Neural electrical characteristics. WikiCommons

The neuron’s axon fires completely once the neural threshold is reached. Downstream loses some input details. Abstraction results from passage over an Almost Gate
Amygdala One of the four basal ganglia in each cerebral hemisphere that is part of the limbic system and consists of an almond-shaped mass of gray matter in the anterior extremity of the temporal lobe. Stimulated electrically produces strong emotional responses. Source of fight-or-flight reaction. Determines emotional reaction to perceived reality.
Analogy Inference that if two or more things agree with one another in some respects they will prob. agree in others . A is to B as C is to D. All analogies can be arranged into this form. Method to draw inferences from similarities, distinct from deduction which uses logic. Can generate novel conclusions as well as false ones.
Aplysia californica Sea slug used by Eric Kandel who observed biological changes after behavioral changes. Experimentally validated Hebb’s Law, showing Long-Term Potentiation.
A reductionist school of psychology that holds that the content of consciousness can be explained by the association and reassociation of irreducible sensory and perceptual elements. Association is through similarity. Pattern-matching occurs when the current abstracted concept matches (surmounts the same Almost Gate) as a remembered abstract concept.
Attention Is the means by which we actively process a limited amount of attention from the enormous amount of information available through our senses, our stored memories, and our other cognitive processes.
Attention, covert The act or state of attending esp. through applying the mind to an object of sense or thought. Mentally conceived objects and situations.
Attention, overt Physically present objects and situations Objects in the vestibule of perception.
Basal Ganglia Any of four deeply placed masses of gray matter (as the amygdala) in each cerebral hemisphere. Gray matter, movement. Motivation. Reward and punishment. Low dopamine, Parkinsonism
Anything that an organism does involving action and response to stimulation. Processes that reduce discrepancies from the set point are known as negative feedback. Most motivated behavior can be described as negative feedback: Something happens to cause a disturbance, and behavior continues in varying ways until it relieves the disturbance. More on Homeostasis, driver of behavior for satiety (satisfaction).
Brainstem The part of the brain composed of the midbrain, pons, and medulla oblongata and connecting The spinal cord with the forebrain and cerebrum. Reptilian – internal physical and survival.  medulla, pons, tegmentum, tectum, inferior colliculus, superior colliculus, thalamus, pineal gland Controls body’s systems (not concerned with thinking). Brainstem originated with the vertebrates (525MYA).
Category 1 : any of several fundamental and distinct classes to which entities or concepts belong. 2 : a division within a system of classification In Mental Construction, a category refers to a collection of features that the person does have a word for. Contrariwise, a pattern is a collection of features that the person does not have a word for.
Causality The relation between a cause and its effect or between regularly correlated events or phenomena. If the same situation occurs, there will be the same outcome.
Cerebellum A large dorsally projecting part of the brain concerned esp. with the coordination of muscles and the maintenance of bodily equilibrium, situated between the brain stem and the back of the cerebrum, and formed in humans of two lateral lobes and a median lobe The flocculonodular lobe, the first section of cerebellum to evolve, receives sensory input from the vestibules of the ear; the anterior lobe receives sensory input from the spinal cord; and the posterior lobe, the last to evolve, receives nerve impulses from the cerebrum. All of these nerve impulses are integrated within the cerebellar cortex.
Cerebrum The cerebrum is a large part of the brain containing the cerebral cortex (of the two cerebral hemispheres), as well as several subcortical structures, including the hippocampus, basal ganglia, and olfactory bulb.
Processes input, results in advanced behaviors

Processes input, results in advanced behaviors

Cognition Expresses the full range of all aspects on the brain, not just rational thinking, but including it. Includes perrception, attention, mental control, gathering and using knowledge, language, behavioral control and monitoring.
Cognitive 1 : of, relating to, being, or involving conscious intellectual activity (as thinking, reasoning, or remembering) ‹~ impairment›
2 : based on or capable of being reduced to empirical factual knowledge
Compare with cognition. The meaningful separation of cognition and thinking is ignored in the adjective. A sign of how difficult it is to keep the two separated.
The field of study linking the brain and other aspects of the nervouse system to cognitive processing and, ultimately, behavior.
Cognitive Process
The Triune brain’s (link takes you to McGill University site) top layer has the parallel process of intertwined association and logic. The Mental Construction Model is similar to the triune model, but the higher level processes of induction and deduction operating simultaneously in the frontal-parietal lobes. not as independent centers of thoughts, but as powerful amplifiers of the 3S imperatives derived in the brainstem and the limbic system.
The study of how people perceive, learn, remember, and think about information. A distinction between brain and mind arises.
System theory that actors with simple rules can display complex behavior because the environment is complex. Complex behavior can be caused by intricacies of environment rather than complex motivations in people. We may use more complex aggregation of categories that can be used in a single unit of cognition.
Concept Something conceived in the mind, a thought notion. An abstract or generic idea generalized from particular instances idea. A fixed pattern. Sternberg (p 322). “concept – an idea about something that provides a means of understading the world.”
Concept Elevator Sensory patterns at inception are processed with  specified genetic forms (edges, direction, movement). Abstracts features of frequent occurrence. Gives rise to an implicit concept hierarchy. Has up to 100 minor stops (concept elevator) each with an abstraction and merging with internal goals and  memories. 
Conscious Perceiving, apprehending, or noticing with a degree of controlled thought or observation. Limited to the cortex. Initiated in the frontal lobes and backward projected to temporal and occipital lobes for auditory and visual processing.
The great band of commissural fibers uniting the cerebral hemispheres of Higher mammals including humans. Consists of about 200 millon axons that interconnect the two hemispheres. The primary function of the corpus callosum is to integrate motor, sensory, and cognitive performances between the cerebral cortex on one side of the brain to the same region on the other side. The corpus callosum originated with placental mammals (225 MYA).
(Cerebral cortex)
The convoluted surface layer of gray matter of the cerebrum that functions chiefly in coordination of sensory and motor information. First appears in mammals. Enhance extraction of information from sensory data Sensory handling also occurs before the cortex receives the data, in the thalamus and other limbic structures.
Creativity The quality of creating rather than imitating. Ability to go beyond exact situation to envision additional possibilities. Another perspective is the ability to see similarities in abstractions of one problem domain in another problem domain. That is in contrast to logically deducing new consequences. Association results from substituting patterns with some similarity. When the substitution is beneficial we call the association creative. When the substitution is not beneficial, the association is not labelled creative.
Critical Period When experiences have a particularly strong and long-lasting effect. If the skill is not learned in the critical period, it can’t be fully learned later. Onset of the critical period depends on availability of GABA, the brain’s main inhibitory transmitter. GABA is necessary to effect significant changes in the synaptic gap, weighting due to new experiences. The critical period’s ending is also signaled by completion of the myelination of axons which send neural signals between modules (regions) of the brain.
Culture 1 : the integrated pattern of human knowledge, belief, and behavior that depends upon the capacity for learning and transmitting knowledge to succeeding generations 2 : the customary beliefs, social forms, and material traits of a racial, religious, or social group ; also: the characteristic features of everyday existence (as diversions or a way of life; shared by people in a place or time Learning and trasmitting the knowledge is accomplished by examples (implicitly by patterns and associations) and by instructions (explicitly by words and logic).
Data Classification Organization of information and categories, which come from language, culture, and society In artificial neural networks, this phrase implies that the neural network uses supervised learning. The classification is part of the input, giving the net the opportunity to adjust its weights to more closely generate the assigned classification. Ex. A set of flower images each with the flower name.
Data Clustering Organization of objects, experiences, and situations is not given, but is open to personal assignment into clusters which have meaning to the individual, to their needs, desires, or goals (see 3S Imperatives). In artificial neural network, data clustering is unsupervised learning. The input does not provide the label. It is up to the neural net to assign a cluster for the input. Example: Identifying groups of insurance policy holders with high average claims
Daydreams Current assignment to activity in the Default (self) network. Daydream types.  1. Positive-Constructive (representing playful, wishful and constructive imagery). 2. Poor Attentional Control (representing the inability to concentrate on ongoing thought or external tasks). 3. Guilty-Dysphoric Daydreaming (representing obsessive, anguished fantasies)
Deduction The deriving of a conclusion by reasoning ; specif: inference in which the conclusion about particulars follows necessarily from general or universal premises compare induction Deductive Reasoning – an argument is said to be deductive when the truth of the conclusion is purported to follow necessarily


Expressing an alternative or opposition between the meanings of the words connected Stanovich (p 70-72) nicely describes that disjunctive reasoning requires effort. It underlies his System 2 mode. This mode is labeled “Slow” by Kahneman. Mental Construction calls this logical or deductive aimed at gratification which can’t be satisfied by the current situation.
Dopamine A monoamine that occurs esp. as a neurotransmitter in the brain. Dopamine is produced in several areas of the brain, including the substantia nigra and the ventral tegmental area. Dopamine’s presence is pleasurable. Thus it’s crucial for learning – in a reward/punishment dimension. Dopamine insufficiency is related to Parkinson’s Disease.
Dual Process Theory Belief that thinking occurs by two separate and distinct modes. Type 1 easy, fast, intuitive, and requires little attention. Type 2 requires effort, slow,  reasoning, and usually language based. Mental Construction. Type 1  by similarities (intuition, common sense); System 2 by logical reasoning
Dualism A theory that considers reality to consist of two irreducible elements or modes. Complete separation between physical reality and mental reality. Mental Construction makes the argument that the physical is partially converted into a person’s internal worldview. Thus physical reality and internal reality are related but not duplicates. Also, that we act upon our internal worldview into external reality.
The net weighting of a situation based on its satisfaction of the 3S drives – Satiety, Safety, Sex. The 3Ss and the current situation all feed into neuron’s associated with different actions. The neuron’s threshold which is surmounted triggers the associated action chain, often despite the fact that none of the 3Ss are completely satisfied by the selected behavior.
Emotions A state of feeling c : a conscious mental reaction (as anger or fear) subjectively experienced as strong feeling usu. directed toward a specific object and typically accompanied by physiological and behavioral changes in the body feeling. Bodily reaction to danger or reward situations. Thalamus can send to Amygdala which can trigger hypothalamus releasing adrenaline (unconscious). Lagging thalamus sends to cortex which evaluates (conscious). Emotions arise from the 3S Imperatives intersection physical reality. Emotions shorten one’s thought train length.  The more emotionally laden a situation is, the shorter will be the number of logic deductions or associated similarities we will make on the situation. A surprise to expectations in environment can cause a well-tempered emotional equilibrium (personality) to rupture.
Epinephrine A colorless crystalline  hormone that is the principal blood-pressure raising hormone secreted by the adrenal medulla and is used medicinally esp. as a heart stimulant and a vasoconstrictor in controlling hemorrhages of the skin. Released by sympathetic system, it affects the brain as well as the body. It’s stimulating effects readies one for “fight or flight.” Also known as adrenaline.
Word Definition MC Aspect
Feature A distinctive arrangement that comprises a part of the overall pattern. Not just of pictures or sensory data, also of sequences and regularities A long, thin dark shape is a feature that might be a snake. Our reaction may be jump back immediately. That is a reaction deeper than a cortical decision. It comes from the limbic system’s thalamus preliminary analysis. With additional time, the cortex may decide that the shape is actually a branch and we relax.
Fidelity The degree of exactness with which something is copied or reproduced Fidelity is the percentage of the input signal that is necessary to cause the threshold to fire. Fidelity is a measure of the maximum commonality that the threshold will communicate.
fMRI. functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging Neuroimaging technique used in biomedical research and in diagnosis that detects changes in blood flow in the brain. This technique compares brain activity under resting and activated conditions. It combines the high-spatial-resolution noninvasive imaging of brain anatomy offered by standard magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) with a strategy to distinguish between the magnetic resonance states of hemoglobin in the presence or absence of oxygen. fMRI impressive resolution of 1 mm still means that hundreds of thousands of neurons with millions of interconnections are summarized in its image.
Folk Psychology Ways of conceptualizing mind and the mental that are implicit in ordinary, everyday attributions of mental states to oneself and others. Philosophers have adopted different positions about the extent to which folk psychology and its generalizations (e.g., those portraying human actions as governed by intention) are supported by the findings of scientific psychology. Some consider it indispensible to understanding human conduct. Others (e.g., “eliminative materialists”) think that it can and perhaps will be replaced by scientific psychology. Perspective embedded in commonly used terms of language. Wants, drives, needs, free will explain conscious decisions.  For example, “voluntary muscles” implies free will.
Fundamental Attribution Error Your mistakes are caused by the situation. Other people’s mistakes are caused by their personality traits. Assume other’s behavior is due to innate disposition, ignoring situation that may be causing it. Road rage. For those who think that IQ is everything (I’m a Mensa member), fundamental attribution error is one of many traits of the human brain, which is not measured in IQ tests.
GABA. gamma amino butyric acid The brain’s main inhibitory transmitter. Activated by pyramidal cells and cause inhibition of other pyramidal cells located at a distance. With excitatory neurons support the center-surround structure. Most purkinje cells (in the cerebellum, not the cortex) release GABA.  relaxation chemical in casual language+E84 The onset of the critical period is associated with relatively higher levels of GABA. Also Fields (p 154) calls GABA athe brake on arousal.
Gestalt A structure, configuration, or pattern of physical, biological, or psychological phenomena so integrated as to constitute a functional unit with properties not derivable by summation of its parts. Emphasizes that the whole of anything is greater than its parts. Overdone, but explains some emergent properties Organization of perception elements is  by proximity, similarity, continuity, closure, and symmetry (strikingly reminescent of self-organized maps). Gestalt explains some emergent qualities – for instance, the brain converts 15 images/sec into smooth motion.
Glutamate A salt or ester of levorotatory glutamic acid that functions as an excitatory neurotransmitter. Beyond its role in neural signal processing, Fields (p 154) contrasts it with GABA, calling glutamate the accelerator for arousal.
Goals The end toward which effort is directed. Basic drivers are Satisfaction, Sex, and Safety. Manifest goals – Where you live, what you do as work, how you relate to potential partners. There are 2 parts to one’s goals. First are the 3S Imperatives from the brainstem and limbic system – safety, satisfaction, sex. Second are the particular ways your genetic complement and perssonal experience shape your 3S’s through goals and personality into behaviors.
Gray Matter Neural tissue esp. of the brain and spinal cord that contains nerve-cell bodies as well as nerve fibers and has a brownish-gray color. Unmyelinated neurons. Sites of processing in brain Gray, non-myelinated neurons are where active integration of signals take place. Up to the critical period that is where rapid learning places inputs into categories and after the critical period, when  inputs are placed into learned categories.
Gyrus A protuberance on the surface of the brain. The precentral gyrus (in front of the central sulcus) is the site of the primary motor map. The postcentral gyrus (behind, closer to the back of the head, relative to the central sulcus) is the site of the primary touch and bodily sensation map.
Habit A behavior pattern acquired by frequent repetition or physiologic exposure that shows itself in regularity or increased facility of performance. An acquired mode of behavior that has become nearly or completely involuntary. Habits are mainly stored in the putamen, a non-cortical limbic structure. In computer science terms, the behavior has become a subroutine that only needs to be invoked by cortical processing. Once invoked, very limited attention is paid to the behavior.
Haptic register Short-term retention of tactile impressions for continuity processing
Hebb’s Learning Law Hebb’s rule is a postulate proposed by Donald Hebb in 1949. It is a learning rule that describes how the neuronal activities influence the connection between neurons, i.e., the synaptic plasticity. It provides an algorithm to update the weight of synaptic connections within neural network. Learning specifically involves strengthening certain patterns of neural activity by increasing the probability (weight, efficiency) of induced neuron firing between the associated connections. Cells that fire together wire together.  When an axon of cell A is near enough to excite cell B and repeatedly or persistently takes part in firing it, some growth process or metabolic change takes place in one or both cells such that A’s efficiency, as one of the cells firing B, is increased.
Hemisphere, Dominant The frontal lobe, which lies rostral to the central sulcus, is involved with many of the components of intelligence (foresight, planning, and comprehension), with mood, with motor activity on the opposite side of the body, and (in the case of the dominant hemisphere) with speech production. The hemisphere that is primary in language generation and reception. The dominant hemisphere is the lefthemisphere in 94% of people. 
Hemisphere, Nondominant The hemisphere that is not primary for language. The Nondominant hemisphere is the right hemisphere in 94% of people. The nondominant hemisphere does have a role in language. It decodes metaphorical content in words, by association and similarity.
Heuristics Involving or serving as an aid to learning, discovery, or problem-solving by Experimental and esp. trial-and-error methods. of or relating to exploratory problem-solving techniques that utilize self-educating techniques (as the evaluation of feedback) to improve performance. Mental shortcuts-informal, intuitive, speculative strategies that sometimes lead to effective solutions For Mental Construction heuristics are essential  because people lack full information, perfect knowledge, infinite working memory, and sufficient time before some reactions must be made. Here’s an interesting heuristic where the goal is get to Pierpont Museum in NYC. Drive towards visible Empire State Bldg tower. That will get you close, but nearby other buildings hide the Empire State Building, Final guidance is needed.
Hidden Layers Hidden layers are the artificial neural network term for these layers. It connotes an ineffability relating to these layers operations. Almost all the layers in the 100 Step Rule are below consciousness and outside of external reality. Only raw sensory input and conscious decision-making steps are available for contemplation.
Hippocampus A curved elongated ridge ( 4 cm long, 1 cm wide) that extends over the floor of the descending horn of each lateral ventricle of the brain, that consists of gray matter covered on the ventricular surface with white matter, and that is involved in forming, storing, and processing memory. Part of cerebral cortex, but only 1,2, or 3 levels of cells in the pyramid versus 6 in the cerebral cortex. Memory formation, spatial awareness, and recall. It is essential for learning and long-term memory. All birds, reptiles and fish have a hippocampus-like structure.
Homeostasis A relatively stable state of equilibrium or a tendency toward such a state between the different but interdependent elements or groups of elements of an organism, population, or groupelements, especially as maintained by physiological processes. Homeostasis provides the physiological underpinings of the emotional satisfaction value of situations. The Satiety component of the 3S Imperatives.
Penfield's cortical homunculus is the mapping of our body within our brain.

Penfield’s cortical homunculus. The mapping of our body within our brain.

SOMs (self-organizing maps) remove some urgency from the criticism that an internal entity is needed to perform operations for consciousness. The distinct and discredited idea of a little person (homunculus) listening and acting on sensory input is not being invoked here.
Hypothalamus A basal part of the diencephalon that lies beneath the thalamus on each side, forms the floor of the third ventricle, and includes vital autonomic regulatory centers. Integrates the brain and the endocrine system, across all mammals. Maintains homeostasis and expression of emotions.
Induction Inference of a generalized conclusion from particular instances. A conclusion arrive at in this manner. Method of reasoning from a part to a whole, from particulars to generals, or from the individual to the universal. 1. Inexact matching/categorization possible; missing data does not forbid  categorization. 2. Inference of a generalized conclusion from particular instances. Induction can generates new premises; however they can be wrong Almost Gate leads to abstraction which categorizes. Particular instances get grouped together. This occurs from raw sense data through intermediate merging with memories and with desires onto final behavioral options. That final step is a generalized conclusion.
Instinct A largely inheritable and unalterable tendency of an organism to make a complex and specific response to environmental stimuli without involving reason. (most typical, fight-or-flight) – quick reaction to stimulus, brain stem up to amygdala to hypothalamus thence to pituitary.  Emotional reaction, stimulus threatens safety.  More broadly stimulus weighed against in-place desires (to satiate hunger, sex, safety) A general internal state (hunger) causes a general response.  Internal state (homeostasis) goes through the lower brain which prompts higher level mental activity to identify potential behaviors that will restore homeostasis.  Below level of conscious effort or mental awareness.
Internal Worldview Metastable understanding of the world we have come to, upon which we make decisions that result on actions or behaviors Contents of internal worldview
Intuition The power or faculty of attaining to direct knowledge or cognition without evident rational thought and inference. Very similar to creativity. The ability to form a conclusion before sufficient evidence is available to completely, deductively prove the conclusion The intuition is formed by pattern analysis and is not a guaranteed conclusion, but a feeling that the conclusion will later be shown to be true.
Word Definition MC Aspect
Kohonen network artificial neural network which spontaneously (without supervision) creates feature maps upon repeated receipt of external stimuli. Demonstrates that feasibility that the human brain could use a similar scheme to learn and organize information
Law of the Excluded Middle Proposition must be either true or false. Only when facts are binary, does the law of the excluded middle hold. An apparent fact like “It rained today” requires scoping by location before it can generate a legitimate true/false distinction. Read this post for further considerations.
Learning vs Training Learning (to gain knowledge or understanding of or skill in by study, instruction, or experience) is spontaneous achieved by repeated experience being slotted into categories. Training (the skill, knowledge, or experience acquired by one that trains) is achieved by a trainer giving the desired category of the experience after each exposure to the experience. In Mental Construction, learning implies unsupervised with the development of categories in a map-like fashion by experience. Training is used for knowledge imparted by instruction. That training can be casual – at home, with friends, or though media interaction – or formal in classroom or from reading.
Learning, Supervised Learning that occurs when input is classified allowing immediate feedback on the correctness or incorrectness of on one’s response to the input. These classifications include meanings assigned by language, behaviorial norms of society, and relationships between concepts developed in culture and academia.
Learning, Unsupervised Learning that occurs when input is not alreadt categorized, yet reoccurs. People cluster it according to their own particular experience that has led to their needs, desires, and goals. Unclassified data holds primary sway over our knowledge only until we start learning language. From then on, supervised language supplants it; but there remain many situations (environmental experiences) which don’t have prescribed names, societal norms, or expected relationships. Unsupervised learning clusters those situations, searching for similarities and for potetiasl relationships that form the basis for our future reaction to similar situations.
Liar’s Paradox “A man says that he is lying. Is what he says true or false?”  “This statement is false.” Self-referential problems in natural language violate logical principles upon which deductive reasoning is based. It is possible to make illogical statements, even without realizing it
Limbic system
A group of subcortical structures, involved with emotion and motivation

A group of subcortical structures, involved with emotion and motivation

Memory gave the ability to fear, leading to safety in 3S Imperatives. Limbic structures have metamorphized homeostasis into bodily satisfactions (satiety) and physical reproduction (sex) into pleasurable activity (with the hypothalamus excreting hormones).
Local neurons Non-myelinated neurons which work together as a group in determining the reaction to a set of inputs
Locus of Interest Each person has a unique range of interests that their thoughts cycle through. This range is driven by a person’s emotional make-up and experience. Also, when the emotional content of a topic of interest rises, the locus of interest usually contracts. Their thoughts cycle back to the emotional topic more frequently.
Logical Of, relating to, involving, or being in accordance with logic. capable of reasoning or of using reason in an orderly cogent fashion. Epitomized by using rules (if-then-else) on ideas (propositions) expressible in words. Deduction from a neural brain.
Long-Term Potentiation (LTP) A persistent strengthening of synapses based on recent patterns of activity. These are patterns of synaptic activity that produce a long-lasting increase in signal transmission between two neurons. Continues through the lifespan, different than learning’s critical period. One or more axons connected to some dendrite bombard it with a brief but rapid series of stimuli- such as 100 synaptic excitations per second for 1 to 4 seconds. This burst leaves some synapses potentiated (more responsive to new input of the same type) for minutes, days, or weeks. Kalat (p 411) notes “work on Aplysia confirms that snyaptic changes can produce behavioral changes.”
Magical Thinking Magical thinking is a form of reasoning that learns causative relationships through correlation alone. Can be induced by sleep deprivation, hunger, overwrought condition Given a correlation with an observed effect, magical condition pulls a causation out of thin air. For example, coming to believe that a particular piece of jewelry is lucky because a few good things happened when it was worn.
Mammals Any of the class Mammalia of warm-blooded higher vertebrates (as placentals, marsupials, or monotremes) that nourish their young with milk secreted by mammary glands, have the skin usu. more or less covered with hair, and include humans.  Superior mammals – primates and above; inferior mammals – below primates.
Matching, Implicit The matching of a current event with a memory is not an explict comparison. It is implicit comparison, a comparison by result. The current event goes through the same pathways, with the same neurons and preexisting synaptic efficiencies that the remembered event does. If the neural results are the same, the entities match.
Materialism A theory that physical matter is the only or fundamental reality and that all being and processes and phenomena can be explained as manifestations or results of matter. Only things known are what are experienced. One can have no thoughts that are beyond the physical reality. We are born with a blank mind (tabula rasa). Transcendental ideas and spiritual (non-materistic) reality do not exist. Mental Construction takes a middle road. See dualism in glossary.
Medulla oblongata Lowest point of the brainstem. The part of the vertebrate brain that is continuous posteriorly with the spinal cord and that contains the centers controlling involuntary vital functions. Breathing, heart rate, vomiting, salivation, coughing, sneezing. Manifestation of homeostasis converted to specific behaviors. Satiety of the 3S imperatives.
Memory The power or process of reproducing or recalling what has been learned and retained esp. through associative mechanisms. not an external photograph retained in the brain, but a reconstruction based on observed event, personal emotional impact, and learned relationships.
Memory encoding Encoding is a biological event beginning with perception through the senses. The process of laying down a memory begins with attention (regulated by the thalamus and the frontal lobe), in which a memorable event causes neurons to fire more frequently, making the experience more intense and increasing the likelihood that the event is encoded as a memory. Emotion tends to increase attention, and the emotional element of an event is processed on an unconscious pathway in the brain leading to the amygdala. Only then are the actual sensations derived from an event processed. Source
Memory, primary system The temporary maintenance system for conscious processing of information Relatively few age-related differences in the primary memory system.
Memory, secondary system The elaboration and organization of information in terms of its semantic content or meaning Age is a significant factor in the performance of the secondary memory system.
Mentalese The hypothetical language of thought, or representation of concepts and propositions in the brain, in which ideas, including the meanings of words and sentences, are couched. More than words are used. Patterns too. The line between thought in mentalese and preconscious thought also makes the discussion rife with confusion.
Metaphor A figure of speech in which a word or phrase literally denoting one kind of object or idea is used in place of another to suggest a likeness or analogy between them. Metaphors are a word-based example of our use of patterns in thinking. While the dominant hemisphere categories by word meanings, the nondominant compares them (across the corpus callosum) its patterns, yielding a metaphorical interpretation of the rigid, denotation meaning of explicit words.
Myelin White, insulating sheath on the axon of many neurons. Composed of fatty materials, protein, and water, the myelin sheath is deposited in layers around axons by Schwann cells in the peripheral nervous system and by a type of neuroglia called an oligodendrocyte in the central nervous system. When myelination fixes axon connections between separate regions (modules) of the brain, henceforth the pattern result travels 100x faster to the other region. Myelin’s occurrence is a biochemical marker of the end of the learning’s critical period in that section of the brain.
Need A lack of something requisite, desirable, or useful. A physiological or psychological requirement for the well-being of an organism The unsatisfaction of a 3S imperative is manifested as a need – hunger/thirst, sexual activity, or fear for safety.
Neocortex The large 6-layered dorsal region of the cerebral cortex that is unique to mammals ; broadly: the mammalian cerebral cortex Whales and elephants, not in the direct line to humans, have developed neocortexes, as example of convergent evolution
Neural Threshold The electrical charge that a neuron must exceed to trigger sending its message to the other neurons it is connected to. It is an all-or-none signal. For instance, if ten inputs must be on for a neuron to fire, it will send the same message whether 10, 11, 12, or a 100 inputs are on. And if less than 10 are on, it will send no message. A neuron needs an additional 75-85 mV for it to fire down its axon. Each dendrite into the neuron can deliver from 0-35 or 0-50 mV, depending of a person’s particular biochemistry and experience (learned efficiencies)
Neuromodulator Instead of handling single signals, a neuromodulator acts across a wide swath of neurons, changing their threshold level. Dopamine and norepinephrine are prime examples.
Neuron A grayish or reddish granular cell with specialized processes that is the fundamental functional unit of nervous tissue. The average cortical neuron has 7000 excitatory and 3000 inhibitory connections with other neurons.
Neuroscience A branch (as neurophysiology) of the life sciences that deals with the anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, or molecular biology of nerves and nervous tissue and esp. with their relation to behavior and learningbehavior
Neurotransmitter A substance (as norepinephrine or acetylcholine) that transmits nerve impulses across a synapse (i.e. between neurons). Glutamate is an excitatory transmitter.
Nodes of Ranvier Periodic gap in the insulating sheath (myelin) on the axon of certain neurons that serves to facilitate the rapid conduction of nerve impulses. Regenerates axon signal at these breaks along the myelinated path
Word Definition MC Aspect
Pattern A discernible coherent system based on the intended interrelationship of component parts. A form or model proposed for imitation : exemplar. Patterns can be a natural or a chance configuration. Patterns are sensory experiences that have been abstracted. Patterns can have a word assigned to them, but pattern refers to the non-verbal details. When patterns are linked to words, the words are linked into categories. Patterns are not just geometric images. A coordination of abstract features can form a pattern. E.g. a sequence of abstractions can form a pattern.
Pattern-Matching Comparison of patterns, by similar summation rather than feature-by-feature. The determination is done in the brain in areas not directly connected with speech. After the determination (neural summation) is made, in normal brains, the corpus callosum and other commissures make the result available to the verbal centers of the brain, where after the fact explanation of an otherwise ineffable conclusion can be constructed. A high-level term for the natural, neural mechanism of processing incoming data through a set of neurons that has already learned to process other input and which, now, processes the new data. It then precedes to pass its information downstream as if the new input is one of its learned categories, even though it isn’t an exact match, just a sufficient match to the learned category to surpass the Almost Gate.
Personality The complex of characteristics that distinguishes an individual or a nation or group ; esp: the totality of an individual’s behavioral and emotional characteristics. Stable, long-term reactions to expected situations. Relatively stable reactions that satisfy non-excited states. Emotions are short, powerful reactions to situations, esp. novel situations. Emotions are intense, short-term reactions to 3S that upset personality solutions.
Pons A broad mass of chiefly transverse nerve fibers in the mammalian brainstem lying ventral to the cerebellum at the anterior end of the medulla oblongata. bridge, where right nerves cross to left and visa versa Its neurons work with the putamen to allow habits  initiated by the cortex be carried out in the cerebellum.
Pound to Fact Manner in which one treats a less than perfect pattern-match as an exact match. The match is then used in logic as a premise. The realization that the assumption is made maybe recognized or unreccognized.
Prefrontal Cortex The gray matter of the anterior part of the frontal lobe that is highly developed in humans and plays a role in the regulation of complex cognitive, emotional, and behavioral functioning Interesting to consider what occurs in the nondominant hemisphere in area where the neuron experiential-wiring supporting logic exists. Mental Construction presumes by analogical function, that associations/similarity/pattern-matching are more highly developed in the nondominant prefrontal cortex.
Premise A proposition antecedently supposed or proved as a basis of argument or inference ; specif: either of the first two propositions of a syllogism from which the conclusion is drawn b : something assumed or taken for granted.
Premise Selection Too often taken for granted that starting with indisputable facts. See glossary Pound to Fact. in the logical processing of ideas, the starting point. If the premises are true, then the logical conclusion must be true.
Priming A nonconscious form of human memory concerned with perceptual identification of words and objects. It refers to activating particular representations or associations in memory just before carrying out an action or task. For example, a person who sees the word “yellow” will be slightly faster to recognize the word “banana.” This happens because yellow and banana are closely associated in memory.
Putamen The large dark lateral part of the basal ganglion which comprises the external portion of the corpus striatum and which has connections to the caudate nucleus. Part of basal ganglia (limbic system). Stores automatic motor programs that it sends to the pons and the cerebellum. These are habits of movements, which, once learned, can be activated without require much conscious attention to performance.
Rational thought Having reason or understanding. Process of drawing logical inferences, both deductive and inductive which must test well against external reality as perceived by the individual – and the individual’s peers. A sufficient ground of explanation or of logical defense ; esp: something (as a principle or law) that supports a conclusion or explains a fact.
Reasoning Being in accordance with reason, not extreme or excessive. The drawing of inferences or conclusions through the use of reason.
Reductio ad absurdum (RAA) Proof of a proposition by showing an absurdity/impossibility results from the opposite of the propostion.  Proof technique. Assume the opposite of conclusion, show it leads to impossibility. Very big in Euclidean geometry. A tool used in many arguments RAA is not a constructive proof. The validity of the proof depends on the scrupulous adherence to simple propositions, which follow the law of the excluded middle. The proposition must be monolithic, without exceptions or nuances. RAA demonstrates the possibility of existence. Another meaning – the carrying of something to an absurd extreme – is not used in Mental Construction.
Reflex An automatic and often inborn response to a stimulus that involves a nerve impulse passing inward from a receptor to a nerve center and thence outward to an effector (as a muscle or gland) without reaching the level of consciousness. Immediate reaction to stimulus, knee jerk by the spinal cord before the brain receives neural signal, is a reflex.
Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis The Sapir-Whorf hypothesis is the theory that an individual’s thoughts and actions are determined by the language or languages that individual speaks. The weak version states that our thoughts are colored by language. (Link to off-site) Instead of limiting the world we know, language extends our world by providing our ancestors’ insights, captured in words and linguistic elements.
Semantic Map Semantics – of or relating to meaning in language . Related collection of meaningful concepts at the same level of abstraction
Similarity Correspondence in appearance or superficial qualities. A point of likeness.
Situation Relative position or combination of circumstances at a certain moment. Part of one’s internal worldview. Collection of objects, people, together in same milieu, that we notice as germane to our needs or 3S If Situation does not offer immediate placation of organism’s imperatives, then organism must perform an action.
SOM. Self Organizing Map A neural network in which each input layer neuron is connected to all the other input neurons as well being connected to all the neurons in the output layer. This connection style automatically self-organizes the masses of various input data it receives onto distinct output neurons, by balancing the synaptic efficiencies across a range of inputs.
Spandrel a non-intended use of a feature which, otherwise, was naturally selected for another purpose Example, the ability to read words by vision which did not evolve to support reading.
Sulcus A fold or groove separating one gyrus from another. Use to describe locations in the brain. The central sulcus separates the parietal lobe from the frontal lobe.
Synapse The point at which a nervous impulse passes from one neuron to another. Chemical connection site which has axon of the sending neuron on one side and dendrite of the receiving neuron on the other The conversion from electrical potential to chemical exchange is the spot where Hebb’s Law comes into action. At the synapse the efficiency of how much charge is transmitted across the gap changes
Thalamus The largest subdivision of the diencephalon that consists chiefly of an ovoid mass of nuclei in each lateral wall of the third ventricle and serves chiefly to relay impulses and esp. sensory impulses to and from the cerebral cortex. All senses but smell come through the switching station which directs them to cortical receipt areas for enhancement. The thalamus also retains some primitive sensory processing. See items below in glossary of thalamus paths.
Thalamus, one path To cortical lobes. Higher level sensory perception.
Thalamus, other path To hypothalamus for homostasis and awakeness. Baseline requirement of survival.
Thinking To reflect on. to center one’s thoughts on. Encyclopedia Britannica definition – thought or thinking is considered to mediate between inner activity and external stimuli. A very broad definition, much broader than the idea that all thought is conscious, usually involves words. Defines thinking as having many operations in common with cognition.
Thought Train Length Each person has their own typical number of thoughts on one topic before their attention shifts to another topic. When the emotional content is very high, that person’s thought train length will be shortened. They will not be able to think as deep (logically or associatively) into a subject.
Word Definition MC Aspect
Vision The special sense by which the qualities of an object (as color, luminosity, shape, and size) constituting its appearance are perceived through a process in which light rays entering the eye are transformed by the retina into electrical signals that are transmitted to the brain via the optic nerve.
Occipital lobe - three pathways

Occipital lobe – three pathways

Vision, Lower Path To temporal lobe. Conscious visual perception Damage disrupts images
Vision, Middle Path To upper temporal sculus. Visually guided action. Largely unconscious
Vision, Upper Path To posterior parietal lobe
Visuo-spatial sketchpad Slave system in working memory. About 0.1 seconds of visual input storage. Relation to subjective time and Stanovich cost of disjunctive thinking. Also called the visual register.
Weighting Proportion of electrical potential that is transferred across synaptic gap to the receiving dendrite. Also called efficiency During training GABA allows many neurons to contribute strongly to the total charge received by a neuron. GABA declines on a schedule controlled by genetics, resulting in fixing the final efficiency of synaptic transmission, which is further fixed at the output side by myelination of the cluster’s axon to other brain clusters. LTP also changes synaptic gap efficiency, however, LTP predominantly makes changes within recognized patterns or categories.
White Matter (myelin) Neural tissue esp. of the brain and spinal cord that consists largely of myelinated nerve fibers bundled into tracts, has a whitish color, and typically underlies the cortical gray matter. Color of axon covering (myelin) through which transmission of results from one brain locality to another takes place Axons extend from evaluative groupings of neurons,  shuttling their evaluations to other regions or modules of the brain.
Word A speech sound or series of speech sounds that symbolizes and communicates a meaning usu. without being divisible into smaller units capable of independent use. Words are concepts that sensory experiences are fit into. A word captures a civilization’s set of environment building concepts. Words. Categories of frozen abstraction. Past categorizations which have proven use, thus reused by others, forming a plank of civilization’s viewpoint. Every pattern does not have a word associated with it. A word captures a civilization’s set of environment building concepts. Peaks of insight, using a high abstraction which is formed very late in the neural cascade, ergo very rarely native in the non-dominant hemisphere.
Working Memory Is essential for problem solving or the execution of complex cognitive tasks. It is characterized by two components: short-term memory and “executive attention.” Short-term memory comprises the extremely limited number of items that humans are capable of keeping in mind at one time, whereas executive attention is a function that regulates the quantity and type of information that is either accepted into or blocked from short-term memory. Link to memory post. Note: there exists a separate short-term memory system for audio (verbal/word-oriented) data, visual (image/pattern-oriented) data, and tactile sensations. These types of memory exist near the sensory inputs.
3S Imperatives Imperative. An obligatory act or duty. Three fundamental human drives are Satiety (bodily satisfaction), Sex, and Safety. 1. Satiety originates in the brainstem 2. Sex originates in the midbrain 3. Safety originates once we can remember, with hippocampus (limbic system) development.
100-Step Rule A simple human reaction has been measured to require about 500 ms, while a single neuronal activity requires 5 ms. Thus a basic human reaction consists of roughly 100 consequential neural firings. Most of the 100 steps occur in areas of the spinal cord and brainstem, limbic system, and enhanced sensory processing lobes of the brain which occur prior to word assignments and conscious awareness.

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