Re: virus: Rationality

Dave Pape (
Tue, 25 Feb 1997 00:46:16 GMT

Corey wrote:

> Is Rational thinking more or less efficient than Irrational thinking.
> Explain and give examples.

1 I think that rational thinking is a bit of an illusion. There's this
other post I just sent where I talk about non-rational nervous systems
faking rational processing by having stupid (apparently unreasoned)
responses weeded out by evolutionary forces, acting genetically or
cognitively (ie learning).

2 I think that experts do things irrationally (by associating input
with output) that novices do /apparently/ rationally. Expert chess players
don't have to think through a lot of the moves that beginners would take
ages over; the experts have been through the trial-reward-remember cycle
loads of times, and so when the beginner makes a legal move, it's quite
likely that they "just know what to do", meaning that the input (the layout
of the chessboard) is associated quickly with an output (the replying move
itself), leaving the novice now to think about the NEW chess position for
ages, thinking about what might happen with each manoeuvre s/he thinks of

Hang on, I said that novices do things /apparently/ rationally!

A novice at a chessboard (assuming s/he's already learnt the moves of all
the pieces) is presented with a position. S/he imagines moving a piece. Then
s/he associates this imagined new position with various moves possible from
the opponent's pieces. Maybe s/he thinks through several moves ahead... but
I doubt it's more than two or three for a beginner, because that'd be
hundreds of scenarios to imagine. If the imagined scenarios are associated
with perceived benefits to the beginner, her/him moving the piece is kind-of
rewarded, and that behaviour may be expressed. If the imagined scenarios are
associated with perceived problems, s/he isn't rewarded and those behaviours
don't get expressed.

And eventually a move is made, and chances are s/he's missed a trick and the
grand master leathers him/her anyway.

I'd say that /apparently/ rational-reasoned behaviour (working through a
problem step by step, trying to check that one step will lead to another) is
less efficient than irrational, plain associative thinking, where you've
LEARNT what to do, and you just link perceptual input effortlessly to motor

But even that /apparently/ reasoned behaviour is carried out by associative
thinking, and reward-punishment effects, not by parsing ideas with logic gates.

Dave Pape
Limit the Fun. Prescribe the Fun. DESTROY THE FUN!
-(Southport & Formby Round Table Association slogan, 1994-1995)

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