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The need of the body arouses desire in the form of an

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Unformatted text preview: imitive reflex which he calls the "conditioned reflex."[1] [1] Pavlow is one of the scientists who regard all mental life as built up out of reflexes. The immediate reflex is only one variety; thought, emotion, etc., are merely reflexes placed end to end. Pavlow divides action into two trends, one due to an unconditioned reflex, of innate structure, and the other a modified or conditioned reflex which arises because some stimulus has become associated with the reflex act. Thus saliva dripping from a dog's mouth at the smell of food is an unconditioned reflex; if a bell is heard at the same time the food is smelled then in the course of time the saliva flows at the sound of the bell alone,--a conditioned reflex. A CHAPTER IV. 35 very complex system has been built up of this kind of facts, which I have criticized elsewhere. The simple reflex, immediate response to a stimulus, has only a limited field in human life or adult life. Sherrington points out in his notable book, "The Integrative Action of the Nervous System," that there is a play of the entire organism on each responding element, and there is also a competition throughout each pathway to action. Let us examine this a little closer. A man is hungry, let us say; i. e., there arise from his gastro-intestinal tract and from the tissues stimuli which arouse motor mechanisms to action and the man seeks food. The need of the body arouses desire in the form of an organic sensation and this arouses mechanisms whose function is to satisfy that desire. Let us assume that he finds something that looks good and he is about to seize it when an odor, called disagreeable, assails his nostrils from the food, which stops him. Then there arises a competition for action between the desire for food and the visual stimulus, associated memories, etc., on the one hand, and the odor, the awakened fear, memories, disgust, etc., on the other hand. This struggle for action, for use of the mechanisms of action, is the struggling of choosing, one of the fundamental phenomena of life. In order for a choice to become manifest...
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