[MUD-Dev] Geometric content generation

Adam Martin ya_hoo_com at yahoo.com
Thu Oct 11 13:46:44 New Zealand Daylight Time 2001


From: "Caliban Tiresias Darklock" <caliban at darklock.com>

> 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.

[...]

>> 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.

[...]

> 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.  

I've encountered a different take on this: that in many cases (but
certainly not all) people take actions for reasons that they don't
want to (or can't - bear with me) admit to, and then almost
instantaneously invent a rationalization that lets them think there
was a logical (or morally acceptable) reason behind their action.

There are two situations which cover all instances I've heard
about. Firstly hypnotic-induced suggestions - someone is asked to do
something unlikely like avoid stepping on a particular section of
floor in a room, then post-hypnosis they walk through the room
taking a big detour around the area. When asked immediately why they
did it, they have a reason they have convinced themself of, but they
don't reply with "because you asked me not to" which is (supposedly)
the real reason.

The second situation (far more common!) is when you take an action
that by your own reasoning was made for immoral/undesirable
motivations - or more especially for a motivation that is one you
dislike in yourself / like to imagine you aren't susceptable to. You
perform the action (steal something small, say something offensive,
etc) and even as you do it you're subconsciously rationalizing a
valid reason why you might have done it which you then
subconsciously decide is the actual reason you did it. However, it
is possible by carefully examining your motivations to realize that
the reason you thought you took the action would not cause you to
take that action in the given situation, from which you can
(personally) conclude that it wasn't the real reason. Depending upon
how honest you are, you can work out your real reason (normally
accompanied by minor feelings of guilt!).

I can't make any claims for the validity of these two reasons, other
than having heard of research and examples of both on many occasions
from different people - I haven't encountered any research
firsthand.

Adam M

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