Can instincts and reflexes be "reprogrammed"?

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Offline Eldar

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Can instincts and reflexes be "reprogrammed"?
« on: 15/04/2009 21:11:43 »
Is it possible to overrun, edit or add new reflexes to the human mind?

I'm capable of "trigger" an adrenaline rush, just by concentrating, but can the human instincts be edited like a program?

And if it is possible, how?
« Last Edit: 16/04/2009 22:15:53 by chris »


Offline chris

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Can instincts and reflexes be "reprogrammed"?
« Reply #1 on: 18/04/2009 12:56:51 »
Reflexes are hard-wired and so I don't think, for the most part, they can be consciously suppressed because they are intrinsic to the way our body works.

Take the knee-jerk for example. This is elicited when a patellar hammer is used to abruptly stretch the quadriceps tendon over the knee joint. This stretch lengthens the muscles, triggering a burst of action potentials to flow back to the spinal cord in large sensory nerve fibres from the muscles. These sensory nerves are connected directly to the motor-neurone supplying the same muscle from which that sensory nerve arose. Consequently, stretching the muscle makes the motorneurone fire, which in turn makes the muscle contract.

It would be very difficult to consciously suppress or abolish this reflex.

However, interestingly, you can augment the reflex by carrying out what is known as a Jendrassik manoeuvre. This is where muscle tone is voluntarily increased in other muscle groups - for instance by linking your fingers and then trying to pull your arms apart. These seems to trigger a "facilitation" (increased excitability) amongst other motorneurone pools, exaggerating the knee jerk (or other) reflexes.

Therefore, my opinion is that hard-wired reflexes probably cannot be prevented - which is why criminals and liars often give themselves away with subtle body cues - but they can be manipulated and possibly reduced or augmented with training.


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