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The subjective mind

  1. Nov 11, 2008 #1
    It was thought at one time that the right brain processed all our subjective thinking (stuff like intuition, perception and interpretations of our experiences) while the left hemisphere was responsible for performing objective thinking (logical, analytical). I think I've read that with MRI scans they now see that while most activity does take place in those areas, there is also some interaction going on with the opposite hemisphere at the same time. Regardless, my question is how does it benefit us to have a portion of our brain doing subjective thinking? Would we be better off being 100% objective thinkers?
     
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  3. Nov 11, 2008 #2

    Office_Shredder

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    When you're trying to jump across a river by going from rock to rock poking out of the water, do you find it easier to rely on intuition based on previous experience jumping, or do you prefer deriving the equations that will allow you to calculate with what force you should jump, and then hoping against hope that you're actually capable of delivering that exact force on command through your legs? One will allow you to escape the bear that's chasing you, the other will result in a very content bear with a full stomach
     
  4. Nov 11, 2008 #3
    OS, that's an interesting example, but I'm not sure if that's an example of the subjective mind at work as much as it is of the neuromuscular system performing a task based on previously having memorized a motor skill... what's often called 'muscle memory'.

    Muscle memory is acquired over time through repitition of the skill and processing in the brain until the task becomes automatic. Some examples include brushing your teeth, swinging a bat and hitting a ball, running and hurdling over an object, driving a car, etc. The reactions become automatic after initially undergoing repititious practice until no conscious thinking is involved.
     
  5. Nov 11, 2008 #4

    Office_Shredder

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    Ok, true, I guess I didn't word my post very well. You're at a river and are considering going over. Are you able to? That's not a muscle memory problem, that's an intuition problem based on practical experience. The decision to jump or not is something your brain has to make
     
  6. Nov 11, 2008 #5
    "Free your mind." - Morpheus
     
  7. Nov 11, 2008 #6
    If I had a bear chasing me down as I was approaching the river, I would just react and take my chances on the river. There would be no subjective or objective thinking involved. It's kind of like if a car was heading towards me, I would try to get out of the way without much thinking involved.
     
  8. Nov 11, 2008 #7

    Moonbear

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    But you ARE thinking the whole time, and that's the point. Quick judgement calls often need to be subjective, because one doesn't have the time to carefully think through all the options and make a more objective decision. Subjective decisions means decisions based on previous experience rather than decisions based on currently presented factual evidence. When you don't have time to get out a ruler and measure the distance across a river, or even a small stream, and calculate your exact jumping distance, you have to rely on previous experience of approximately how far you can jump and whether that is the distance across the stream.
     
  9. Nov 11, 2008 #8
    I think runner's got a lead on the point of it all. Subjective thinking is what prevents you from being torn apart by a grizzly bear while thinking to yourself, "Hmmm, Ursus arctos horribilis is a vital part of the local ecosystem and probably needs to begin storing up energy for the long winter right around now. My, look at those incisors, what a magnificent specimen of carnivorous evolution."
     
  10. Nov 11, 2008 #9

    Moonbear

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    :rofl: Much worse if he pulls out a stopwatch to determine the average running speed of the bear before deciding if he can outrun the bear (at which time the inevitable answer is "No.")
     
  11. Nov 11, 2008 #10
    But that's very objective thinking. Wouldn't it be enough to think: got to run now and think later?

    anyway
    Your family and friends would be more than happy you thinking subjectively in favor of them, but science is severely suffering from subjective thinking.
     
  12. Nov 11, 2008 #11
    You make a good point Moonbear. BTW, I was thinking in terms of a river with deep enough water in it to possibly slow down a bear. I don't think a stream would make much difference to a charging bear. I also don't know if the rush of adrenaline from the beast breathing down a person's back gives them the luxury to do much more than just react and take their chances.... it's either in the drink or you face the 900 lb monster. Is reacting in a situation like that based on some prior subjective thinking... could be, so I will side with you and OS on the fact that the subjective mind can play a role in safety and survival.

    What about love which most say is a subjective thing?
     
  13. Nov 11, 2008 #12

    Moonbear

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    Exactly. I was illustrating the point there of why objective thinking is not always the best approach.
     
  14. Nov 11, 2008 #13

    Good point! :smile:
     
  15. Nov 11, 2008 #14
    LOL....... true.
     
  16. Nov 11, 2008 #15
    So, if falling in love is a subjective thing, does it mean that the subjective mind also plays a role in the propagation of the species?
     
  17. Nov 11, 2008 #16
    [joke off][serious on] Point here is conditional reflex for survival. Many canned situations require instant reactions (reflexes): if danger then fight or flee. Don't think, don't analyse, just follow preprogrammed reactions to preprogrammed contingencies. Training helps to sharpen up those reflexes.
     
  18. Nov 11, 2008 #17

    Moonbear

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    Since you turned serious on...they aren't reflexes. A reflex is when you pull your hand away from something hot before realizing it's hot. Running from a threat requires thinking and realizing it's a threat.

    As for emotions, that's different than subjective thinking. Emotions are controlled by the limbic system of the brain, which is spread throughout several areas, not just one place or one side.
     
  19. Nov 11, 2008 #18
    Really?? then please explain why you don't have to think hitting the brakes hard when a child crosses the road in front of you.
     
  20. Nov 11, 2008 #19
    I don't agree that you would not think first. Do you hit the brakes hard for every nylon bag that suddenly appears in your lane?
     
  21. Nov 11, 2008 #20

    Evo

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    Sorry to tell you guys this, but you would all be dead if you encountered a bear. You never try to run, swim, or climb a tree to get away from a bear, the bear will beat you.

    Here is the correct way to handle a bear attack. Objective thinking will save your life.

    Running might trigger a chase response, and you're not going to outrun a bear.

    Step1 Remain calm if you spot a bear; avoid sudden movements.

    Step2 Back away slowly, avoid eye contact, and speak to the bear in a calm, quiet voice.

    Step3 Throw something onto the ground (for example, a camera) if the bear pursues you, as this may distract the bear and allow you to escape.

    Step4 Keep your backpack on; it may protect your body if you're attacked.

    Step5 Don't climb a tree. Black bears can climb trees, and trees found in grizzly country generally have weak trunks and lack low branches.

    Step6 Drop to the ground in the fetal position with your hands behind your neck if attacked. Stay silent and don't move.

    Step7 Roll with the bear's blows and return to your motionless fetal position.

    http://www.ehow.com/how_240_survive-encounter-with.html
     
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