Chapter 7: How to Focus?

post by ld97 · 2020-03-02T10:08:09.743Z · LW · GW · None comments

//DISCLAIMER: BEFORE WRITING A COMMENT TO THIS ARTICLE READ NEXT ONE! THEY ARE STRONGLY COUPLED!

//DISCLAIMER II: You made the long path reading this series. I want you to know - you are great. And now I need your help. Take this Curious Sword - you'll need it, and in the end, you will understand why. Sorry, there is no time to explain it right now.

We need to filter references that Working memory (WM) will receive.

We can use:

  1. The pool of references that are trying to get to our WM.
  2. Current references in VM.
  3. Information we have about our brain state.

If the Working memory is empty, we can fill it with any reference. But let's choose an object that had "strongest" activation. The object is consists of other objects and their connections. Let's summarize the weights of connections that were providing the signal. And if they are related to some object - each additional point will increase its probability to win our race to WM.

But our problem is that our inbox that receives messages from other parts of the brain is never empty. You can't stop it. Even if you are not thinking, you will process the sensory information itself. That's the thing that allows you "not to think." You are replacing your thoughts with sensory information processing. That's a great exercise to improve the control on your filter, but Working Memory still won't free. I think if you find a way to achieve it, you'll get BSOD, and probably the last word in this acronym will be completely literal.

It seems like our current question is not the easiest one. Maybe we should collect additional information? Let's try to create a simple example.

Imagine that you are listening to music. That's what you are focusing on. Your expectation model is trying to predict the next chord. You are happy because you can do it, and so on. And suddenly your internet connection lost. Music stops. You have a problem. You are looking on the screen of your device, and it shows you "No Network Available." In a panic, because today is the day then you needed to send the incredibly important presentation, you are trying to remember if you paid your ISP last month. Then something says "Meow" very close to the router. You realize that if you have a cat, it was not a great idea to put the cable on the floor. You stick the wire in the router, connection establishes, and music plays again. The problem is solved.

The first thing that we should realize is what we were doing during that situation.

You've been listening to music, and everything was ok.

It suddenly stopped, you switched to from your thoughts on solving that problem.

You've been filtering information and choosing only something that was related to your situation.

Then you solved the problem you returned to the normal state.

Hm. When we behave like that? How to describe the process? We were focusing on something... Focusing! It was an Attention!

So Filtering is simply an Attention! We finally understood it!

We have almost finished! Let's proceed to the next part.

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