We spoke in a previous chapter of choice as an

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Unformatted text preview: n (and the superiority of the higher over the lower animals) becomes striking. Anatomically the cerebrum is a complex elaboration of cells and fibers that have these main purposes: First, to record in perfect and detailed fashion the EXPERIENCES of the organism, so that here are memory centers for visual and auditory experiences, for skin, joint and bone experiences of all kinds, speech memories, action memories, and undoubtedly for the recording in some way not understood of the pleasure-pain feelings. Second, it has a hold, a grip on the motor mechanism of the body, on the muscles that produce action, so that the intelligence can nicely adapt movement to the circumstances, to purpose, and can inhibit the movements that arise reflexly. Thus in certain diseases, where the part of the brain involved in movement is injured, voluntary movement disappears but reflex action is increased. Third, the neopallium, or cerebrum, is characterized by what are known as association tracts, i.e., connections of intricate kinds which link together areas of the brain having different functions and thus allow for combinations of activity of all kinds. The brain thus acts to increase the memories of the past, and, as we all know, man is probably the only animal to whom the past is a controlling force, sometimes even an overpowering force. It acts to control the conduct of the individual, to delay or to inhibit it, and it acts to increase in an astonishing manner the number of reactions possible. One stimulus arousing cerebral excitement may set going mechanisms of the brain through associated tracts that will produce conduct of one kind or another for years to come. We spoke in a previous chapter of choice as an integral function of the organism. While choice, when two competing stimuli awake competing mechanisms, may be non-cerebral in its nature, largely speaking it is a function of the cerebrum, of the intelligence. To choose is a constant work of the intelligence, just as to doubt is an unavailing effort to find a choice. Choice blocked is doubt, one of the unhappiest of mental states. I shall not pretend to solve the mystery of WHO chooses,--WHAT chooses; perhaps there is a constant immortal ego; perhaps there is built up a series of permanently excited areas which give rise to ego feeling and predominate in choice; perhaps competing mechanisms, as they struggle (in Sherrington's sense) for motor pathways, give origin to the feeling of choice. At...
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This note was uploaded on 09/26/2011 for the course PSYCHOLOGY 110 taught by Professor Kannan during the Spring '11 term at Anna University Chennai - Regional Office, Coimbatore.

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