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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.
- Spring '11