virus: Hard-Wiring

Dave K-P (
Mon, 13 Oct 1997 01:12:09 -0400

At 02:31 PM 10/12/97 -0700, Tim Rhodes wrote:

>On Fri, 10 Oct 1997, Sodom wrote:
>> I believe it was sceintific American, -no wait- it was a special on
>> the brain i saw on PBS. I'll get the tape. Anyway, the idea was that
>> almost all of your neural connections are made by the age of 10. This
>> means that the things you learn at these ages get hard wired into the
>> brain.
>IThis is counter to many things I've read. Are you sure its's not talking
>about /structure/ and not /content/?

I don't think he was implying content, but it is an interesting question to
ask to what extent one will effect the other: how does structure limit our
ability to learn and how does our learning influence the structure of our
brain. As for this age limit on hard-wiring, it is not absolutely so.
Yes, before our tenth year we can be programmed to recognize our parents
and many other things, but that does not necessarily mean that we will
remember everything we learned in that time... I don't remember how to play
the piano, for instance. Another counter to the limit theory is
bike-riding; once you learn how to ride a bike -save for physical injury -
you cannot forget, no matter how old you are when you learn because it
forms new connecitons in your neural net. Another interesting questions
arises perhaps, too: What are the distinguishing characteristics of
"hard-wired information" and "volitile information"? Or, how come I cannot
forget how to ride a bike but I am always forgetting my car keys?