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Thread: Modes of thought

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    Diamond Member adrianh's Avatar
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    Modes of thought

    I wonder whether rational and irrational thinking is genetic or whether it is taught (self taught or formally taught) I am fascinated by our mental operational modes. Association of appropriate cause and effect occurs at a very young age, a baby quickly figures out that if it cries it gets attention. Could it be because of upbringing, people grow up to believe that rain is brought on by dance and all sorts of strange things. So, if the thought process is learned at a very young age is there a way to turn irrational thought processes into rational processes through education. Are people able to overturn their ingrained thought processes themselves....
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    Gold Member Dave S's Avatar
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    I think it is our upbringing to a largest degree, although I'm sure other factors have influence. Take someone with Bi-Polar disorder with serious mood swings, this is a lacking of a physical chemical, education will not change the chemical balance within the brain/body but, education can teach how to cope with this disorder and/or how to recognise symptoms before they become excessive.

    Rational thought can be taught, irrational thought is more likely brought about by a traumatic event, but with the right therapy, perhaps that too can be changed. Of course there is also IQ that must be considered, a person with a lower IQ would be more prone to think in Linear terms, whereas a higher IQ must think more in Logarithmic terms (pardon the use of the mathematic terms).
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    Diamond Member adrianh's Avatar
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    I agree with most of what you say ut think that irrational thought goes deeper than a traumatic event. I think that what might happen is that logical thinking is applied to bad underlying data.

    Lets say you have a computer program that builds a train of thought based one various inputs. The program gets say 5 inputs and selects say the nearest 5 outputs. The inputs are fuzzly logic based and not only contain question but also facts and emotional weighting. The outputs may contain the same or even formulas or lookup pointer or whatever. The outputs are then fed back in and this continues untill a certain point. Irrational thought might be a function of inappropriate outputs being selected and being fed back through the system. It may occur due totrauma in that extreme emotional weighting in the answers or in the evaluation process may throw the answers off but there are definitely people who have systems that are off. Maybe some of the output information that is used in the looped evaluation process is screwed up and constantly causes the process to be thrown off.
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    Diamond Member wynn's Avatar
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    Genetics may have something to do with the fact that the 'Northern Eurocentric' bloodline has a kink which makes them remember that winter will arrive every year and to make sure to have propper shelter and to store enough foodstuff to last.
    'Afrocentric' and 'Southern Eurocentric' bloodlines do not know about six months of constant below freezing temperatures therefore there is the 'Manyana' syndrome.
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    Gold Member vieome's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by adrianh View Post
    I wonder whether rational and irrational thinking is genetic or whether it is taught (self taught or formally taught) I am fascinated by our mental operational modes. Association of appropriate cause and effect occurs at a very young age, a baby quickly figures out that if it cries it gets attention. Could it be because of upbringing, people grow up to believe that rain is brought on by dance and all sorts of strange things. So, if the thought process is learned at a very young age is there a way to turn irrational thought processes into rational processes through education. Are people able to overturn their ingrained thought processes themselves....
    I am not sure if we can classify thinking in terms of something we are born with. More likely that we adapt and learn as we grow. However in terms of rational and irrational, there is nothing fixed which can classify what is rational or not. In the past it would of being irrational for anyone to think the earth goes around the sun. There is a confusion that if someone disagrees with our thinking, we tend to label them irrational, kinda like if someone does not get a joke we tell, we say they have no sense of humor. The way I see it, rational thinking is the self (place of thought.. the I) feeling it is in charge, but when we come to see how much of the choices and decision we make everyday are controlled by our brains, then we really have to question what we think is rational thinking.

    Beliefs for me are a whole other issue, the belief that one has to dance for rain, is no different then the belief that all I do it push a switch and a light comes on. It is only with knowledge that the rain dancer maybe able to see that his dance is not causing the rain, or the switch pusher to stop believing that the switch brings the light.

    On the babies crying there was an interesting study done you can read it here . So much for cause and effect, it would of being irrational for one to think that they baby is actually lying .

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    There is little doubt that logic is something you can improve with training.
    And coming up with the "right answers" often relies heavily on foundation - essentially learning.

    Quote Originally Posted by adrianh View Post
    I think that what might happen is that logical thinking is applied to bad underlying data.
    That certainly must be one of the causes. The other that leaps to mind is "missing the obvious" - those associated knowns that just don't come to mind at the same time as the logic chain is being built up.

    Performance in this regard is probably not that dissimilar to sports, a combination of innate talent and application. You can have all the talent in the world; if you don't apply it with effort and discipline, you can't reach the same heights as if you did.

    IQ might affect the limit of your potential - ultimately how close you get to that limit is up to how you train and apply your mind.
    Which means that a person with a lessor IQ can still outperform someone with a higher IQ if they apply themselves better.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    Diamond Member adrianh's Avatar
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    @DaveA - I agree with you thinking about it. One of the first things we learn is short circuit thinking. What I mean is this when you teach a child 7x7 = 49 the child learns the math or the child learn that the question = the answer without understanding the math. Either way you get to learn the short circuit input to output. The difference is that one can derive the answer from first principles if the need arise and the other is unable to. Even though you may know how to perform the calculation you bypass the calculation by short circuiting (that is exactly we learn multiplication tables. We then build structures of input vs output sets with or without being able to understand or perform the needed logic. We all do it all the time because a lot of the underlying logic to get from question to answer is irrelevant to us. i.e. when I step on the gas the car goes faster and I do not have to understand the workings of an internal combustion engine to accept the cause and effect. But what happens if the input vs output is corrupt and there is no first principle logic to reformulate the input vs output. Could it be when that logic process is missing we employ whatever strategy to get from input to output that we have at hand, sort of like curve fitting. We have a curve and we figure a massaged formulate and data to support the curve. This means then that there could be various problems, one possibly never learned first principle logical though processing, there is data missing and it becomes second nature to curve fit or the input vs output & first principle processing becomes corrupted or of course where multiple inputs lead to an output some of the inputs may be weighted disproportionately as in the case of trauma where that variable in the equation is out of whack.

    I find it interesting to think about because there are many people who learn like parrots. They are able to go from input directly to output without having any idea of the intermediate process. Then there are people who get totally bogged down in the intermediate process and are unable to come to a conclusion i.e.. people who are undecided.

    It seems to me that our thinking machines are fuzzy logic based and that we are able to process extremely fast if we learn how to harness short circuit techniques. The danger of course is that if the short circuit is incorrect and the underlying algorithms to derive the answer are not available we make up curve fitted algorithms...hence we are able to ggo from point A to point be using nonsensical "logic"
    How easily someone is offended is directly proportional to how stupid they are.
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    Gold Member Dave S's Avatar
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    I'm sure that somewhere in the growth/development of the human brain, for some of us, a random variable is introduced, IE. Something we heard, something we saw, or just a chemical anomaly, that stuck and caused a reaction that now results in a spiderman/superman (sort of) ability to see another approach to a situation. Where most people would think, based on the facts at hand, these "randomised" people have the ability to envisage a different approach without having to rely on current facts only, they can introduce a random and thereby change a situation.

    The statement, "That's so silly, it just might work" comes to mind. Many of the great inventions were first thought to be ridiculous, because of the inability of most people to see beyond the randomisation element, thank heaven the inventors didn't give up.
    Last edited by Dave S; 05-Dec-13 at 06:55 AM. Reason: Additional input
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    Gold Member Dave S's Avatar
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    Adrian, here's a link to the functions of the brain, warning, you will need lot's of time and coffee

    http://science.howstuffworks.com/lif...rain/brain.htm
    http://greatapethoughts.wordpress.co...-thought-work/
    Today Defines Tomorrow
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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    When it comes to "modes of thinking", "logic" and "inventing", something else to throw into the mix here is the intuitive vs rigorous approach.

    The intuitive approach relies on an initial scan, from which one only deeply investigate the options that look most promising (seems to tend towards a solution), and pretty much ignores the rest.
    The rigorous approach methodically probes all options.

    Most of us scoff at the rigorous approach as mechanical and less demanding, thereby "inferior" to an intuitive approach.
    We also tend to credit those great leaps to "fantastic intuitive thinking".

    Ironically it's often the rigorous approach that throws up the spectacular, surprise results. (Which shouldn't be a surprise if you think about it).
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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