Shunning and reorganization

The following passage is on p. 5 of Warren’s recent paper on consciousness

Mansell, W. (2022, July 4). An Integrative Control Theory Perspective on Consciousness. Psychological Review. Advance
online publication. DOI:10.1037/rev0000384

When reorganization occurs, randomly generated changes are made to the input functions, output functions, and the parameters (e.g., gain, smoothing constants) of that unit until error reduces. Reorganization, therefore, emulates natural selection of variants in order to optimize control (Cziko, 1997). Consistent with the PCT account, there is evidence of neural “reorganization” during uncontrollable stressors that dysregulate the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenergic (HPA) axis (Huether et al., 1999). Yet, within the PCT approach, reorganization facilitates learning throughout a continuum of intrinsic error states to reduce them to zero, rather than solely during “uncontrollable” stress.

Reorganization is going on continuously at various rates is a good basis for understanding learning, refinement of control, and system maintenance, consistent with a proposal in my review.

In vitro, separated nerve cells branch their axons and dendrites and project new ones, and form synapses with the other cells. A cooperative interaction emerges.

In evolutionary terms, their intrinsic motivation for doing this is a common intrinsic variable among all cells in a multicellular organism, creating, sustaining, and maintaining the body of that organism and its means (in turn) of controlling its environment. Most generally, increased stability of the environment is beneficial to survival and generational propagation of any living thing. Collective control results from this.

The activity seen among nerve cells in vitro is the same activity that accomplishes reorganization.

The proposal is that the condition for reorganization is isolation of a cell, loss of inputs from other cells, and that this happens when a cell or system of cells doesn’t ‘play well’ with others. Its outputs are disturbances to their control of their inputs. This might be done by inhibiting synaptic transfers or more duratively by breaking synaptic connections. Cells that were causing disturbances would start to reorganize.

Interesting parallel to Ed Ford’s RTP methodology in schools.