Internal Model

 

Alexander Liss

 

06/10/04

 

 

 

 

Internal Model 2

Generalization of Internal Model of the Body. 2

Amygdala. 2

Broad Concept of Mind. 2

Broad and Narrow Descriptions. 3

Filters. 3

Description of Internal Model 3

Actions. 4

Foundation Images and Patterns. 4

Manipulation of Own Foundation Images and Patterns. 5

Manipulation of Other's Foundation Images and Patterns. 5

Template of Internal Model 5

Homeostasis. 6

Skin. 6

Movement of Homeostatic Boundary. 6

Filters. 7

Focus. 7

Reality. 8

Memory. 9

Functioning with Internal Model 9

Information Flow.. 9

Potential Feedback Problems. 10

Actions Evaluation and Positive Feedback. 10

Special Case. 11

Object 11

Internal Model 11

Information Paths and Filters. 12

Decision Making and First Feedback. 12

Decision Making and Second Feedback. 12

Mechanism of Positive Feedback. 12

Uses of Positive Feedback. 13

Dangers of Positive Feedback. 13

Breaking Positive Feedback. 13

 

 

 

 

 

Internal Model

 

Generalization of Internal Model of the Body

 

Internal Model of own Body is described in literature. This model reflects current state of the Body. It is perpetually updated and it is used by the Body to evaluate potential changes of its state, which the Bode could initiate. D'Amassio provides in depth study of this system from neurological point of view.

This model is perpetually updated through minor actions of the Body and collection of sensory information caused by these actions. Term "emotions" is well suited to name such minor actions used to update the Internal Model of own Body.

We extend here the concept of the Internal Model of own Body to a concept of an Internal Model, which reflects of surrounding and society.

 

Amygdala

Areas of the brain supporting the Internal Model of own Body are known already.

Repeated fear provoking situations produce Long Term Potentiation (LTP) in amygdala and new branches and connections in its neurons. Hence, a part of Internal Model of surrounding and society is supported by amygdala.

Because some areas of amygdala support the Internal Model, amygdala is one of subjects of following study.

 

Broad Concept of Mind

 

To describe the Internal Model, one has to rely on concepts of a Mind and a Consciousness.

If one limits a concept of the Mind to the mind of an individual and concept of the Consciousness to the consciousness of an individual, then it is difficult to explain various phenomena, particularly social communication.

A human being is a social creature. A concept of human being even cannot be defined without a concept of society. People, who grew up outside of society lack so much, that they can't be integrated into a society.

This means that description of learning, social communication, etc. cannot be done with a set of descriptions of individual minds; group effects relatively independent from individual minds taken in isolation have to be taken in consideration.

Hence, the description of the Internal Model should use broad concepts of Mind and Consciousness, where the society is reflected.

 

Broad and Narrow Descriptions

 

Still, some properties of a human being should be analyzed in isolation from the society. Hence, the description of the Internal Model of own Body uses narrower concept of individual mind in isolation of society.

The generic concepts and the generic description provide a basis for defining of limits of applicability of the description of functioning of the Body, which is a description of the Internal Model of own Body.

 

Filters

 

The concept of the Internal Model should be complemented with a concept of Filters of information delivered to the Internal Model.

When one analyses the Internal Model of own Body, one differentiates filters of sensory information and describes how the Internal Model of own Body affects them (for example fear causes them to let more information through).

Similar, there are Filters of information coming to the Internal Model, and the Internal Model affects their functioning.

 

 

Description of Internal Model

 

The Mind has an Internal Model of physical and biological Body, its physical and biological surroundings and social context.

 

Actions

 

The Internal Model is used to evaluate New Actions (patterns of activity) before they are deployed.

The Internal Model is perpetually updated, and if there is a "suspicion" of its inadequacy, then the Mind engages into minor experimentation to gather feedback and update this Internal Model.

This is done with:

        minor actions of the Body to collect feedback and improve the picture of the state of Self(emotions)

        minor interactions with surroundings,

        minor social interactions (they include facial expressions, gestures, small talk, etc.)

Consciousness has only partial awareness of this Internal Model.

The Internal Model has a list of Possible Actions (patterns of activity). Some Actions from this List are deployed to update the Internal Model.

Other Actions from it are used in automatic responses, for example in case of danger.

Consciousness is rarely aware of this List, unless we develop it, for example by training facial expressions in front of a mirror or through engagement in martial arts.

 

Foundation Images and Patterns

 

Part of the Internal Model accessible to Consciousness is perceived as a system of Foundation Images and Patterns, on top of which new images are built and patterns are recognized.

Manipulation of these Images and Patterns affects the Internal Model and affects basic activities of the body -internal activity, interaction in biosphere and in social sphere, etc.

Done carefully, it can be beneficial. However, mistakes in this area could be highly destructive.

 

Manipulation of Own Foundation Images and Patterns

 

One manipulating own Foundation Images and Patterns has no internal benchmark, which could be used to evaluate results of such manipulation, because a changed Internal Model presents different view of the world to Consciousness.

It is possible to have external benchmarks; it could be a few types of them and a proper type we could choose consciously. Here lays a conundrum - one arrives to new Consciousness after manipulation of Foundation Images and Patterns. What should one rely at: an old external benchmark chosen by an old Consciousness or a new benchmark chosen by a new Consciousness.

There are a few esoteric schools actively engaged in modification of Foundation Images and Patterns. Among them are: yoga, control of "chi", mysticism, etc.

 

Manipulation of Other's Foundation Images and Patterns

 

Various forms of "brainwashing" are used to force these modifications to acquire a direct control of a person or guide future person's actions in direction uncharacteristic for the person in an original state.

Storytelling is an ancient art of manipulation of Foundation Images and Patterns.

Awhile ago, tools of modification of an Individual Internal Model of other people were accessible only to a few individuals - parents, practitioners of religious institutions, leaders of nations. Now they are widely used by media, motivational speakers, college professors, etc. This creates a potential instability of society - very private parts of individual minds are wide open to random manipulation undetectable by manipulated.

 

Template of Internal Model

 

A social group (department of an organization, religious community, nation, etc.) is often actively engaged in modification and support of modified Internal Model of individuals of that group.

A stable social group has a Template of an individual Internal Model and it forces this template on members of its group and often beyond its group.

 

Homeostasis

 

The Internal Model affects system of values, distinguishing of "good-and-bad" and decision-making. Changes to the Internal Model could cause changes in all these phenomena.

However, there is one element of the Internal Model, which is very conservative, and which could be used as a basis of a generic structuring of the Internal Model. This element is related to homeostasis - a sense of differentiation between oneself and surrounding and desire to maintain this differentiation.

Detected danger to Homeostasis evokes brief evaluation of Actions from a list of protective Actions, choice of an Action from this list and deployment of this Action. The Internal Model is used to evaluate these actions.

Some Actions are evaluated fast and result in a base action as fight, flight or freeze; others are more sophisticated and need longer evaluation before they are translated into decision and Action.

This is a basic pattern of behavior, which can be found in behavior of primitive organisms and as an underlying mechanism of psychic activity.

 

Skin

 

In the Internal Model, this sense is powerfully reinforced with a special organ - skin. It is present in the basic part of the Internal Model - in the Internal Model of Own Body.

Note that desire to maintain homeostasis is not overwhelming all other desires - suicide is an example, but it is universally present and used to create conscious logical systems of values.

 

Movement of Homeostatic Boundary

 

Division on self and surrounding produces a pair of derived concepts: Expansion and Contraction.

Expansion in one area and Contraction in another area is a Movement of self in surrounding.

The Internal Model allows evaluation of potential Expansion-Contraction Action from the point of view of Homeostasis.

An individual interprets evaluation of various types of Expansion-Contraction with help of the Internal Model as different types of feelings. Some such feelings are basic, relying on the Internal Model of Own Body reflecting basic structures of the body and surroundings; others are more sophisticated and involve elements of the modeling of society.

Feelings can be classified according to these Actions. Evaluation of an Action of Contraction is interpreted as Fear, Sadness, Disgust, etc. Evaluation of an Action of Expansion is interpreted as Anger, Aggression, etc.

Most likely, a part of Internal Model responsible for evaluation of Expansion-Contraction Actions is supported by the amygdala.

 

Filters

 

The Internal Model is a part of a Behavior Governing System.

From observation of psychological and neurological functioning of the brain as the Behavior Governing System, one could distinguish a special structural element - Filters of sensory information.

By a natural analogy, in the Behavior Governing System of Self, we distinguish Filters of information through which external information goes to the Internal Model.

Functioning of these Filters is affected by information coming from the body, from surroundings and from society. For example, dangerous situation causes lowering of a threshold of their sensitivity.

The way Filters function and their reactions to various situations are mostly beyond Conscious.

One of the most important characteristics of Filters is their ability to filter out repetitive information.

However, when repetitive information is important, for example in the case of danger, the Body specifically stimulates filters to pass it through.

 

Focus

 

Focus (concentration) is the way to control Filters and consequently control Actions. Focus causes blocking of one type of information, which is normally comes through, and opening Filters for other type of information, which is normally filtered out.

Basic types of Focus are supported by not Conscious automatic Body activity associated with food and danger. Artificial types of Focus are learned to participate in social activities of study, work, etc. Some types of Focus are learned for self-development (meditation, prayer, etc.)

Focus is achieved through a set of (trained) special Actions. Often, these Actions cause elements of fear reactions. This happens because fear causes a natural Focus and it is relatively easy to modify it for other uses.

Because Focus circumvents natural "dampening" behavior of Filters, it could and sometimes it does cause undesirable circles of activity, from which it is difficult to break out. For example, persistent focusing on potential danger could cause a cycle of anxiety fed by imagination.

Habit to focus creates a predisposition for such circles and hence anxiety.

Warriors and sportsmen learn to focus out of necessity. However, many forms of work in modern society require ability to focus. This could be a cause of wide spread anxiety and depression in modern society.

From the other hand, a developed ability to focus at will, could be used to break out of undesirable circles of activity, by artificial filtering out types of information participating in such cycles and opening window for other types of information.

 

Reality

 

It would be nice to define a theoretically adequate Internal Model, which correctly reflects Reality and to compare particular Internal Models to this one. However, this is unattainable goal. It is possible to compare one Model to another, monitor success of its usage (from the point of view of maintaining Homeostasis), compare them to some template of the Internal Models supported by some social group, but nothing can predict future exactly.

An Internal Model failing some or even all of its evaluations can be very useful in rapidly changed circumstances. There are many examples supporting this statement.

 

Memory

 

Recollection of a phenomenon is a construction of an image based on existing associative relationships in the body (including brain) guided by the Internal Model. Every time the Recollection occurs, the new image is constructed. Destruction of some associative relationships leads to disappearance of some phenomena from recollection.

A person with damage to the brain sometimes does not have a conscious awareness of a limb. Stimulation of certain region in the person's brain can temporarily bring back this awareness and even the fact that such awareness was missing for awhile. When stimulation is terminated, the awareness disappears again, and even memory of events, when absence of such awareness was detected and actively discussed, disappears also.

The Internal Model organizes large part of associative relationships stored in body. Hence, comprehensive models of memory (and decision making) should include the Internal Model. Currently, this is seen in mysticism. This is also seen in idiomatic constructions so pervasive in all languages, where generic phenomena (especially actions) are denoted as specific phenomena (actions) of a body, a group of people or immediate ubiquitous surrounding. While they look as a reference via example, they reflect deep organization of Mind's processes.

 

 

Functioning with Internal Model

 

The Object of modeling of the Internal Model is the Body and it's Surrounding (social, physical, etc.).

 

Information Flow

 

Information about this Object is collected via sensors.

It is filtered via Filters.

Based on filtered information, the Internal Model is perpetually modified.

Based on current state of the Internal Model, the Body makes two decisions:

One Decision is made to modify Filters.

Another Decision is made to modify the Object.

These Decisions are implemented and cycle is repeated:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Potential Feedback Problems

 

A system with a feedback, as one described above, has a potential problem of positive feedback, when information from the Object (stimuli) causes lower threshold of sensitivity in Filters and stronger and stronger reaction on the Object, which in turn causes more stimuli.

The usual functioning of a Body is just the opposite - repetitive stimuli cause the rise of threshold of sensitivity in Filters (we react on novelty and ignore repetitive information).

However, in some cases, such positive feedback occurs and these cases have to be dealt with artificially.

 

Actions Evaluation and Positive Feedback

 

Difficult to control escalations of information flow could happen, when the Mind evaluates actions using its Internal Model.

Action evaluation with the Internal Model often involves imitation of the action with minor movements of the body and collection of the "action model".

These minor movements are reflected in the Internal Model, which reacts to them as to real actions of the body.

It is possible, that a positive feedback is triggered and the system enters into a loop of growing information flow until it reaches limits of its capacity, where this flow stabilizes at unusually high level.

This state should divert resources from other activities of the body and should be interpreted by the Mind as undesirable.

Interruption of such loop with following subsiding of information flow, could be done through flipping the body into another state via focused muscular activity, broad muscular relaxation or shifting flow of sensory information.

When falling in such loop becomes frequent - a combination of evaluated actions and surrounding which causes it happens often, that pattern of activity could become a part of the Internal Model.

 

Special Case

 

There is a case, when the possibility of such positive feedback is increased, because of the design of the Body.

 

Object

 

The Object includes muscles and hormones. States of these two components are interrelated - changing of hormonal state leads to changing of state of muscles.

Following is a path of influence:

1.  Corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) via nervous system induces adrenal glands.

2.  Adrenal glands produce hormones: epinephrine (adrenalin) and glucocorticoids (hydrocortisol).

3.  Epinephrine and glucocorticoids induce muscles

State of hormones and state of muscle is passed to the Internal Model.

This is already a source of potential problems - two types of characteristics of the Object are passed to the Internal Model and these two types of information substantially repeat each other. While this creates a reliable information flow, it is hard to interrupt or modify this information flow, when needed.

 

 

Internal Model

 

One part of amygdala supports the Internal Model.

 

Information Paths and Filters

 

There are two information paths from the Object to the Internal Model; one is from muscles via sensory cortices and another via locus coerules.

State of muscles is monitored by sensors and passed to the amygdala (Internal Model) via sensory cortices (Filters).

Locus coerules acts as a sensor for glucocorticoids. In response to glucocorticoids, locus coerules produces norepinephrine. Norepinephrine induces amygdala (Internal Model).

Production of norepinephrine is affected by mechanism of psychomotor retardation (prolonged exposure to glucocorticoid depletes levels of norepinephrine in locus coerules neurons), which we interpret as a Filter.

 

Decision Making and First Feedback

 

Second part of amygdala supports Decision making - stimulates sensory cortices (Filters); it lowers their threshold of sensitivity.

 

Decision Making and Second Feedback

 

Third part of amygdala supports another branch of Decision making - produces corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH), which affects states of muscles in the Object as this is described above.

 

Mechanism of Positive Feedback

 

The Filter related Decision-maker (amygdala) could cause lowering of threshold of sensitivity of Filters (sensory cortices), which filter broad range of information coming to the Internal Model. This allows new types of information to reach the Internal Model triggering reaction based on a part of the Internal Model, which was not involved in the decision causing lowering of threshold of sensitivity.

Release of acting agent CRH by the Object related Decision-maker (amygdala) causes the state of the Object, which is read by hormonal sensors (locus coerules) as a state justifying higher response (higher level of norepinephrine) passed to the Internal Model. Fortunatly, this path of information has Filters with a cut off - psychomotor retardation.

The same release of CRH by the Decision-maker causes more tense muscle state of the Object, which is read by muscle sensors as a state justifying higher response passed to the Internal Model. The resulting escalation of information flow through this path breaks only when disturbing sensory information subsides or an entire system flips into a different state.

Hormonal and muscle readings reinforce each other - they are influenced by the level of the same hormone and both have to be reduced independently to break the positive feedback loop.

 

Uses of Positive Feedback

 

An obvious use of described positive feedback is rapid mobilization of resources in a case of danger. This is what is called a "gift of fear". It means that the mechanism is extremely important and it should not be damaged by artificial intervention.

 

Dangers of Positive Feedback

 

A positive feedback could cause a increased internal information flow, which is not justified by surroundings or homeostasis of the body. Depending on severity of the case, it is called stress, anxiety, depression, etc.

Because the mechanism of this positive feedback should be preserved and even protected, a treatment of these illnesses should be a kick-off the state, where the positive feedback is present.

 

Breaking Positive Feedback

 

In the majority of cases, a prolonged period with an active positive feedback means an illness.

To get out of such state one has to break positive feedback in three places simultaneously:

        In Filters of information (through elimination of negative information - painkillers, artificial not threatening surrounding, etc.)

        In stream of information from muscles (relaxation of muscles, through conscious effort or via medication)

        In stream of information from hormones (reduction of level of glucocorticoids through intensive physical exercise).

 

There is an obvious experience of breaking from this loop of positive feedback. Such loop happens in dangerous situation and it is broken through fleeing from this situation.