Did anyone read this short article by Professor Ira Hyman by the way? He describes the actions of people walking on autopilot across his university campus and how many avoided obstacles or failed to spot money on tree branches they had to dodge. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/me ... -autopilot
- Asking your friends if they drive on autopilot is a very constructive idea. One of the risks in such a procedure though is that some people will not admit that they lack any form of concentration whist driving. William James cited another researcher, Sir Francis Galton I think, who asked a whole range of people whether they day-dreamed. Every science graduate gave an emphatic NO! while people of poor education gave a resounding YES! This suggests that you may get qualified answers. But I admire you for just doing it.BadgerJelly
, you may have picked one form of novel action (learning a new language) that could be picked up without conscious effort. Then again, maybe not. The fact of the matter seems to be that we learn far more by mimicking our peers and elders in the few years of our lives before we ever go to school than we probably learn in the next six years. And even as an adult amongst people speaking a foreign language, would you classify that learning as a first novel task or as a gradual exposure. What if you decided to teach yourself from a book? Would the first reading not require intent, conscious rehearsal (silently or aloud), awareness and concentration?
This exercise has been useful by the way BJ
because it suggests that the properties of the conscious efforts may vary with different first novel tasks.RoccoR
- “I'm not sure that there are, as of yet, the right intellectual foundations or the proper tools to explore the relationship between the "mind" and the "brain." Many of us take the relationship for granted; but, that may be an illusion.”
That shouldn’t stop us from having a ‘go’. By identifying various real-life examples of what states of mind are required for first attempts at novel tasks, it just may be possible to identify the properties of conscious actions. At least we have concrete scenarios as a basis.Old Rasputin
– You could be right. Your position that there is no such thing as autopilot and that it could all be just a case of not remembering is somewhat logically unarguable because, as you say, if it was un-, sub- or semi-conscious, it was not conscious, and therefore we could not be aware enough of it to remember it. Now I did not say that it was correct – just that it is unarguable by definition.
On the other hand I have to commend you on your self-experiment. I like to see people have a go. I don’t have to perform the exercise do it myself because I can picture it in my mind. Like you I believe I would not be able to remember all the objects that I identified on the way.
You actually PERFORMED A NOVEL TASK FOR THE FIRST TIME and your vocalisation and affirmation of consciousness suggest it was conscious. It required intent, planning, awareness and concentration
. The latter word is a new one in line with learning a new language from a book as discussed after BadgerJelly’
s post. It is in line with my conclusion above that the first performance of a novel task requires intent, planning, awareness and concentration
Your experiment did not involve rehearsal of motor skills because your only motor action was vocalisation of words. In this case that vocalisation was already on autopilot from a lifetime of usage since your first attempts as a child.
Apropos of your conscious identification of landmarks on your daily drive, could it be said that you were driving on autopilot while you were doing this secondary task?
One could almost describe the task as one of memorising landmarks at one mile intervals. If you identified three objects each time, you would have had 36 items to remember. I think extremely few people could do this, because at first sight, the landmarks would just appear in your short term memory. It would be interesting to see how your recall of them improved after many repetitions. It takes repetition for anything to go into long term memory and be readily accessible to memory.
But if you continued the exercise you would have to go onto autopilot while driving at least every time you reached the landmarks - because the exercise would be a secondary one to the primary driving.RoccoR 2 “It is interesting to note that there is no clear definition to consciousness”
I agree that we don't have yet, but why don’t we have a serious go at it?
I checked your reference, "Driving while asleep is rare and dangerous.
Posted Dec 06, 2008 Psychology Today by John Cline Ph.D."
But I wouldn’t personally regard driving while drowsy or actually asleep, which is the substance of this article by John Cline, as remotely analogous to driving on autopilot.
Outside of the above responses to individual posters, if you doubt that we walk familiar tracks, use manual gears, negotiate familiar roadways and touch type (another good example) on autopilot, please have another look at Neuro’s
first post. Neuro
is highly respected in this forum as an authority on brain pathways and in that post he has not only substantiated the existence of ‘autopilot’ in neuroscience literature, but he has described the nerve pathways that function when we are in that mode. “Most of our acts are performed in a "autopilot" like manner. These are mostly guided by the external clues. These may imply choices, but not "strategic planning", and they are not handled by the prefrontal cortex. They are mostly handled by the parietal-premotor cortices, use the basal ganglia as the choosing and conciliating system, and they work perfectly even without any conscious concern.
The specific motor (and cognitive) tasks we have learnt to perform can typically be performed without any attention, but again they are not elaborated by the prefrontal cortex. The cerebellum has most of the burden in performing sports, playing an instrument, organizing a sentence according to grammatical and syntactic rules, and repeating a poem that was learnt by heart.”
My only comment about Neuro’
s post was to the effect that some concrete examples would have helped in understanding the function parietal-premotor cortices.
I’m still convinced, like Neuro
, at least, and maybe Braininvat
that most of our acts are performed in autopilot. My added notion is that there is such a thing as the first attempt at a novel task
, that this attempt is totally conscious, and requires intent, planning, awareness, concentration and in many cases motor skill rehearsal
contributed the notion that with repetition of the task, there was a gradation of the level at which autopilot came into action and conscious functions reduced.
Just to keep a compass on where I believe we are going with this, I believe it is presenting a different perspective on conscious awareness and the degree to which we act un-?, semi-, or subconsciously (whatever heading autopilot fits under).
I’m still open to arguments against the propositions, but would like to progress past this and get onto some concrete examples of subconscious planning and rationalisation. But bear with me for the next few days because I will be away,