The Thinking Brain
Pp. 253-296 (44)
Pierre Nelson and Gérard Lot
Social instincts need an exchange of messages. In animals, real or imaginary
heard signals act as instinctive drives to trigger a behavioral response (flight, attack). In
men, the labels of real or imaginary heard sequences of phonemes are words and words
act as instinctive drives to utter other words. Real or imaginary speeches allow long
A man can learn and recognize about 40 phonemes and less than 104 words (when
modern dictionaries quote 104 words). The output of a word device is used as a partial
instinctive drive. The total drives result from a fluctuating mosaic of partial drives, a
word calls for another word. Sentences are seldom stored in a long term memory, but
compacted in a short-term memory. Primary words are related to motor behaviors.
Others are abstract concepts related to primary words or abstractions built from
abstractions. They allow the bottom-up building of long term strategies. Their results
are evaluated by downward imaginative tests. The frontal cortex confronts the
immediately most pleasant behavior (insulting my boss) and the long term most
pleasant one, explaining how works self-control. Mechanisms of language explain
fiction, creativity and rational thinking. In dog as in man, another complex motosensorial
device governs complex motions. Simple motions play the same part that
phonemes, simple actions replace words and complex actions replace sentences.
Combining language and complex motions, man becomes able to conceive new actions,
to invent and use tools. Human consciousness is possibly related to the imaginative
working of these two moto-sensorial devices. Then, dog’s consciousness would be
related to its imaginative motions.
Abstract concepts, action, complex motions, consciousness, cortex,
creativity, fiction, imaginative trials, imagination, language, phonemes, rational
thinking, self awareness, self-control, sentences, social instincts, strategies,
thought, tools, words.
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