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Why Everyone (Else) is a Hypocrite 2: Evolution and the Fragmented Brain

02/21/2013

Kindle Notes:

A module is an information-processing mechanism that is specialized to perform some function. That’s it (490).

In sum, because specialization generates efficiency, and efficiency confers evolutionary advantage, we should expect organisms’ bodies and brains to show specialization of function in the form of bundled interacting modules (731).

In the case of the split-brain patient, the lack of connectivity is obvious because the physical connection between the hemispheres was severed. My claim is that this unnatural separation, which leads to phenomena like the confabulation of the relationship between the shovel and the chicken claw, is exactly analogous to natural separations in normal brains (822).

In this study, people were shown four identical pairs of panty hose, laid out in a line, and asked which they liked best. The subjects didn’t know they were all identical, and duly chose, and it turns out that when faced with an array of identical panty hose, people choose the one all the way on the right. That is, the position of the object is what seems to be driving the choice. However, just like split-brain patients, the people making the choice weren’t able to say what really caused them to make the choice that they did; instead, they referred to some feature of the panty hose, such as color or texture, even though these were the same for all four (826).

Why are normal people, like split-brain patients, sometimes unable to identify the real reason for their choices? As Nisbett and Wilson put it, “there may be little or no direct introspective access to higher order cognitive processes” (830).

physically, in the mind—modules don’t need to be localized to be specialized (923).

Note: Do they have to be localized to make the case for physical separation of info?

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