[MUD-Dev] Geometric content generation

Caliban Tiresias Darklock caliban at darklock.com
Tue Oct 9 12:27:28 New Zealand Daylight Time 2001

----- Original Message -----
From: "J Aitken" <djaitken at bigpond.net.au>
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Ola Fosheim Grøstad" <olag at ifi.uio.no>
>> rayzam wrote:

>>> Actually, motivation in humans consists of performing an action,
>>> often without knowing why, and then rationalizing it
>>> afterwards. Or changing our beliefs based on the action we
>>> performed. Motivation on the level you're talking about is
>>> either hindsight, or repetition.

>> This doesn't really make sense to me, maybe you have a reference.
>> If I am motivated to apply for school because I want to become a
>> movie director, how is that related to what you just wrote?
>> Anyway, there is no single model of motivation, just like there
>> is no single model or ontology for emotions...

> Its a radical behaviourist perspective on human motivation, and is
> not supported by many psychologists these days as a complete
> explanation for human behaviour, although its certainly true for
> _some_ situations.  If you want to know more, do a web search on
> Skinner and Radical Behaviorism and you'll find something I'm
> sure.

The basics are pretty simple. When brain activity is monitored,
every time someone makes a decision, part of the brain becomes
active. So we said "there's the part that controls decisions". Then
we paid closer attention and figured out that it becomes active
AFTER the decision is made. So we said "oh, it's deciding why we did
that". The belief was that you would take an action, then
rationalise it after the fact to make sense of your own
actions. Essentially, that would mean you never do anything for a
reason, you just make up reasons for doing things after you do them.

This makes everything you do in your entire life patently absurd.

Unfortunately, it's a flawed conclusion. Think of it this way: an
invisible laser is fired from an unknown source. It strikes a spoon,
which reflects the laser onto a panel. A hole is burned in the
panel, and the spoon grows red-hot -- at which point it is no longer
reflective enough to direct a coherent beam. Since we cannot see the
laser, the empirical observation is that the spoon became hot and
sent a beam to burn a hole in the panel. We test this in various
experiments, and eventually discover that the spoon only becomes hot
AFTER the hole is burned in the panel, so we observe that the spoon
grew hot because of the burn.

It's a classic example of logical fallacy. Initially, the joint
effect fallacy is committed: the hot spoon is believed to cause the
burned hole, when both are actually the joint effect of the
invisible laser. Once the precision increases to the point that we
fix the spoon's heat *after* the burned hole, we commit the post hoc
ergo propter hoc fallacy: the spoon grew hot after the hole was
burned, so the burned hole caused the spoon to become hot.

Once the actual cause is known (the laser), both propositions look
like the ridiculous mistakes they are. But even without knowing the
actual cause, it's reasonably obvious that both are founded on
flawed logic, and cannot be considered truths in the absence of
other evidence. It seems rather simple to find alternate reasons for
activity in that part of the brain after a decision, such as
anticipation of results or archival of memories. Why such
alternatives were ignored is simply beyond me, and probably stems
from the unwillingness of researchers to claim that some more
illustrious personage in the field was probably wrong.

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