Home » Current Activities » Cataloging Cognitive Phenomena Using Reversibility Criteria

Cataloging Cognitive Phenomena Using Reversibility Criteria

As you can probably tell by yesterday’s post, my thesis is still young, not quite formed, and has a few holes.  As an exercise, I am considering cataloging cognitive behavior (especially economic behavior) in terms of reversibility.  I am wondering if the results of this exercise, which might have a physical basis in neurobiology, could result in a kind of “periodic table of elements” for human behavior. Could it help point the way to better understanding of the neurobiology of various behavioral mechanisms?  This would be a mult-dimensional map, including:

  • Degree of irreversibility
  • Irreversibility seeking versus irreversibility maintenance
  • Irreversibility recognition (do you know it when you see it?)
Consider some examples:
  • Defense of property (irreversibility maintenance)
  • Economic transaction (irreversibility seeking)
  • Social bonding (irreversibility seeking while bonding, maintenance afterwards)
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder (irreversibility seeking, but unable to recognize it when it occurs)
  • Schizophrenia (brain randomness: low irreversibility/bias, high irreversibility seeking behavior)

Consider the potential mapping along these dimensions:

Reversible ← → Irreversible
Successful recognition ↑
Recognition failure ↓

Indeed, I am having a difficult time expressing what is on my mind.  I will try to read more literature on behavioral economics to see if others have already tread these waters and also to see if I can get some hints on how to express my thoughts better on this topic.  Of course, this work might be a nothing but a snipe hunt, but I think I might at least learn something from the exercise.


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