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Science

Pilot of My Soul 18

Posted by timothy
from the like-to-settle-down-with-a-nice-dopamine dept.
nickynicky9doors writes "The International Herald Tribune has an article on one of the recent advances in neuroscience. The article harkens back to Freud and suggests many of our actions are unconscious. Brain circuits involved in reward assesment process dopamine as a chemical signal. It is thought human dopamine-based reward assesment includes sending dopamine signals to the frontal cortex. Beginning in our earliest years the system informs our expectations and our reactions."
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Pilot of My Soul

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  • by Zelet (515452) on Monday February 25, 2002 @04:44PM (#3067205) Journal
    This has been used in Physics classes for a long time. The Prof performs an experiment, you "know" what is going to happen until it does. This wakes you up and makes you sit up in your chair. This unexpected event gets burned into your brain. Seems like this is the reason. How many of you really learned or payed attention in class when everything is just what you expected?
  • by UpnAtom (551727) on Monday February 25, 2002 @10:11PM (#3068624) Homepage
    Of course our behaviour is largely based on simple interactions between neurons and neuropeptides. What else is there?

    However, consider that a piece of your brain the size of a grain of sand contains a billion synapses, belonging to 100,000 neurons, each of which having a unique function.

    Consciousness, free will, love etc are all emergent properties of this most complex system.

    Dave.
  • The Next Step Is... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Dancing Tree (536870) on Monday February 25, 2002 @11:58PM (#3068972) Homepage
    taking this further and applying it to yourself to add or remove habits that you don't like. If you are trying to gain a new routine, then it would make sense to find a way to link the firing of dopamine receptors with it. Many actions themselves cause the receptors to fire and so are self reaffirming. Whereas other things that we want to do (like brushing your teeth) or don't want to do (like quitting smoking) do not themselves generate closely time linked positive responses. The benefits of these activities is apparent over time but there is no immediate dopamine response related to either. When you are trying to quit smoking, You dopamine levels probably decrease every time you deny yourself the "burning pleasure". It is through a strong consistent act of consciousness (exertion of will), or a minor superiority complex (I'm better by doing this thing and thinking that I'm better actually gives me a dopamine dose), or an outside dopamine reducer/raiser (if I shock myself when I smoke/reward myself with sugar when I don't I'll forcibly change my behavior.).

    It seems that the ideas of this provide a firm example for AI modeling tied to a consciousness modual to turn on for learning and changes in the environmental norm. Whether you get friendly or dangerous machines would seem to be dependant on what the initial reward/punishment programming would be coupled with how much mobility (both communicational and physical) you give them.

    Just some of my musings on this subject

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