Information Processing and Psychological Dynamics
The psychological dimension can be divided into three principal layers that can each be broken down into a multitude of subsystems or modules:
1. Dealing with physiological information. Every physiological reaction is activated by a series of stimulations that often automatically activate physiological responses. This is how an antibody from the immune system reacts selectively to certain substances that are characterized by the simple fact that they are the only substances that activate an immunizing reaction. In its development, the nervous system allows for an increasingly complex coordination of the reactions of the organism that fan out to include an ever larger number of internal and external stimuli. The human brain can thereby distinguish a great variety of stimuli and ecological characteristics. A computer can propose a variety of different reactions for a similar stimulus.33
So can the brain. A mammalian brain can generate a large repertoire of coordinations between stimuli and responses because the brain has developed intermediary zones between the sensory and motor systems. Everything that happens in these intermediary zones is already a form of analysis and synthesis about what is going on. Having said that, these dynamics are systems of information management that are not part of the dynamics habitually found in the mind.
2. Psychology and consciousness. The notion that humans have a psyche imposed itself because humans experience conscious impressions. Consciousness is a virtualâ domain of perception and the management of perceptions that refines the way an organism perceives what is going on around it and how it acts. We cannot presently determine with precision the status of our conscious thoughts. Consciousness is something that is part of everyone’s experience. For the moment it can only be defined by making reference to this experience. Consciousness is therefore the core around which psychology has become a meaningful science. One of Freud’s greatest contributions to psychology was to oblige us to admit that there are unconscious thoughts that can influence how we think and behave. Freud only includes in the unconscious perceptions that can become conscious, that may have subsequently been repressed, and that can rise to consciousness again (after a psychoanalytical treatment, for example). These unconscious psychic dynamics are psychological (in the traditional sense of the term) to the extent that they function like conscious perceptions. Trained in neurology, Freud makes a clear distinction between how mind and brain manage information. His first topography describes the circulation of information in the psyche. What he calls the defense mechanisms show us that even if the psyche has conscious dynamics for its center, the psychic dimension also contains nonconscious regulators and mechanisms that regulate how a mind is organized and how conscious impressions are produced.
3. The editing mechanisms. Between the management of information performed by the nervous and hormonal systems on one hand and the mind on the other, we must postulate an interface that edits neurological information in psychological data. It is possible that the organizational systems of consciousness are mostly anchored in such an interface, but there exists no research on the subject at the moment. Its function would be close to that of the editor in making a film It consists, in effect, in reformatting (translating) information circulating in the brain in virtual thoughts that can be perceived consciously. Every computer or television station has such a system. These machines transform electrical impulses into sounds and images that can be perceived34 by human senses. Even if one assumes that there really is a system of repression of unconscious material, as described by Freud, there are certainly other, even more powerful forms of information-sorting at the level of the editing interface. Thus, a social censure can demand the suppression of particular images in a film This form of censure is different from the one that manifests itself when the team making the film sorts through the images to keep a limited percentage that will be used to create the final product. It consists here in creating the sequence of images, the duration of each sequence, and drawing the attention of the viewers to particular elements gathered during the filming.
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