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A Complete Biological Theory
Of Concealed Motivation

This is a complete and new biological theory of motivation (The Intuition Theory). The new and emerging concept is that concealed neural pattern recognition events regulate motivation levels.  Subconscious drives impel people to achieve excellence, or to spend exceptional energies on services to humanity. There have been five well known theories of motivation, which seek to explain the reasons why a few people spend more energy than others to achieve their goals. All these theories essentially outline the crucial impact of neural activities on motivation.

The Instinct Theory suggests that motivated behavior is a biological instinct. The Drive Reduction Theory suggests that motivated behavior seeks to reduce the tension of drives triggered by sensations such as hunger or pain. The Arousal Theory suggests that motivated behavior is the result of a search for an optimum level of arousal.

The Psychoanalytic Theory suggests that motivated behaviors follow fundamental drives to survive and avoid death. The Humanistic Theory presents the Maslow Hierarchy, where people strive to achieve their maximum potential. Instinctual responses, drive reduction, arousal, psychological and humanistic drives are the varied aspects of the powerful neural drives, which ultimately motivate people. The Intuition Theory suggests that these drives are powered by the intuitive choices of the mind.

  • Intuition focuses the nervous system on an activity. Wisdom, or emotions decide.
  • Strategic drives use coded knowledge to achieve objectives.
  • Motivation is limited by neural wisdom. Excellence is delivered by wider knowledge and skills.
  • Excellence results in flow.
  • When emotions dominate, an individual will persist in the task.
  • Speed dial circuits, created by painful experiences, focus people on specific goals.
  • Different people are motivated by different rewards.
  • Many people are not fortunate enough to work on rewarding careers.
  • The Intuition Theory suggests that inner wisdom and emotions motivate the system.

Could An Amazing Algorithm Have Stunning Control Over Your Mind?
This is what happens when an engineer researches the mind. Way back in 1989, the writer, an engineer, catalogued how the ELIMINATION approach of an AI Expert System could reveal a way by which the nervous system could store and retrieve astronomically large memories.  That historic insight is central to the six irresistible premises presented in this website. 

Behind the scenes, these premises conceal an eye-opening revelation.  About the incredible speed of intuition.  A physician is aware of thousands of diseases and their related symptoms.  How does he note a symptom and focus on a single disease in less than half a second?  How could he identify Disease X out of 8000 diseases with just a glance?  

First, the total born and learned knowledge available to the doctor could not exist anywhere other than as the stored/retrieved data within the 100 billion neurons in his brain.  The perceptions, sensations, feelings and physical activities of the doctor could only be enabled by the electrical impulses flowing through the axons of those neurons.  The data enabling that process could be stored as digital combinations.

Second, combinatorial decisions of neurons cannot be made by any entity other than the axon hillock, which decides the axonal output of each neuron.  The hillock receives hundreds of inputs from other neurons.  Each hillock makes the pivotal neuronal decision about received inputs within 5 milliseconds.  A
xon hillocks could be storing digital combinations.  It could be adding each new incoming digital combination to its memory store.  The hillock could fire impulses, if it matched a stored combination. If not, it could inhibit further impulses.  Using stored digital data to make decisions about incoming messages could make the axon hillocks intelligent.

Third, combinations are reported to enable a powerful coding mode for axon hillocks.  Olfactory combinatorial data is known (Nobel Prize 2004) to store memories for millions of smells.  Each one of 100 billion axon hillocks have around a 1000 links  to other neurons.  The hillocks can mathematically store more combinations than there are stars in the sky. Each new digital combination could be adding a new relationship link.  In this infinite store, specific axon hillocks could be storing all the symptom = disease (S=D) links known to the doctor as digital combinations.

Fourth, instant communication is possible in the nervous system.  Within five steps, information in one hillock can reach all other relevant neurons.  Just 20 Ms for global awareness.  Within the instant the doctor observes a symptom, 
feedback and feed forward links could inform every S=D link of the presence of the symptom. Only the S=D link of Disease X could be recalling the combination and recognizing the symptom.

Fifth, on not recognizing the symptom, all other S=D hillocks could be instantly inhibiting their impulses. The S=D links of Disease X could be continuing to fire. Those firing S=D link would be recalling past complaints, treatments and signs of Disease X, confirming the diagnosis.  This could be enabling axon hillocks to identify Disease X out of 8000 in milliseconds.  Eliminating improbable (unrecognized) prospects to arrive at a possible (recognized in the past) solution powers the powerful inductive logic of the mind!

Worldwide interest in this website acknowledges its rationale. Not metaphysical theories, but processing of digital memories in axon hillocks could be explaining innumerable mysteries of the mind.  Over three decades, this website has been assembling more and more evidence of the manipulation of emotional and physical behaviors by narrowly focused digital pattern recognition.  It has also received over 2 million page views from over 150 countries.

A Biological Theory Of Motivation 
What are the Engines of Motivation?
The choices a person makes in life are determined by the options available within his mind. Imagine a system, which runs through millions of possibilities to make each choice.  Imagine intuition, an algorithmic process, which enables the nervous system to deliver swift decisions. Animals cannot afford to freeze into immobility, unable to decide between chewing grass and drinking water. If the choice is to chew grass, the drive to quench thirst is instantly inhibited. 

intuition as a pattern recognition process.  Intuition  eliminates unfit possibilities within milliseconds to choose a single option for action. When an intuitively driven system knows the answers, actions flow with effortless energy. When answers are lacking, the system fumbles. In more complex situations, emotions guide system strategies. When emotions dominate, the system acts with passion for good or evil.

A Biological Theory Of Motivation 
What Are Neural Drives?

Since solutions are often not immediately available, neural drives constantly seek answers to problems faced by the system. Imagine purpose driven neural drives.  
The human mind has immense knowledge, stored as coded answers from myriad evolutionary and real life experiences. When you decide to move a piece on a chess board, sequences of motor impulses persist from the instant your hand picks up the piece, till it is set down in its new position. Muscle movements are sequences of micro-managed contractions, which last just milliseconds. Each signal invokes only a tiny contraction.

Myriad muscles contract and relax over thousands of cycles till your chess piece reaches its desired position. The motor codes continually issue precise instructions to meet a set objective. Your hand does not wander off on its own.  Imagine immense knowledge, stored as coded answers from evolutionary and life experiences. Imagine neural search processes, which constantly locate suitable answers from this lode of experience. But, answers are not always available. The information may not be there in the system.

A Biological Theory Of Motivation 
What Delivers Excellence & Knowledge?

Motivation is limited by neural wisdom. Successful people make millions of choices during the course of their lives. The wisdom in their words, the experiences they remember and even their social choices are all decisions and abilities of the system. Famous actors, statesmen and business leaders have access to the crucial physical and mental knowledge, which supports quick and effective decisions. Those choices carry them to the top.

The legendary management guide Peter Drucker defined excellence as the ability to easily do something, which others find difficult. The easy intuitive availability of answers is crucial in the motivation of successful people. When a person appears to lack motivation in a job, the real problem may also be an inability to locate suitable answers. He lacks the crucial insights and motor skills. Wiser decision making processes constitute one aspect of increased motivation. Such knowledge is the key to work flow.

A Biological Theory Of Motivation – 
What Is The Concept Of "Flow?"

At its highest level, motivation achieves flow. Flow is a state of mind, where people become totally immersed in their tasks and lose all sense of time. It is a state, where people work for the pure enjoyment of completing the task and not for any external reward. The solution of problems is in itself, a reward. Professor Wolfram Schultz discovered that reward oriented behavior is promoted by the release of a group of neurotransmitters by neurons in the early reptilian part of the human brain.

These neurons detect signals in the environment, which indicate the possibility of a reward within a specific time frame. By releasing dopamine, these neurons increase neural activity in the forebrain, mainly in the prefrontal regions, where attention and analysis take place. Schultz noted that the release continues only for the predicted time period, when a reward can be expected. The release reduces at the end of this period. The releases stop if the rewards have become a matter of routine. Novelty is essential for sustained interest.

The solution of each new problem, however simple, provides a reward. Dopamine increases alertness and provides clarity to immediate objectives and makes a person feel more energetic and elated. Research has shown that people achieve flow, when they feel that they are in control of tasks, which are goal directed, provide feedback and give them a sense of meaning. Studies indicate that flow does not require engagement in creative, or artistic tasks. Flow has been shown to be experienced even in tasks such as analyzing data, or filling out income tax returns. Flow occurs, because the system is rewarded with swift answers in the challenges of the job.

A Biological Theory Of Motivation – 
What Is The Effect Of Persistent Emotions?

Persistence is another aspect of motivation. Some people are said to be motivated, when they complete a job with speed and excellence. There are others, who bring extra-ordinary energy to a job. Energy results, when a person strikes harder as well as when he persists in his effort. Persistence is the result of a single minded focus, where an individual keeps after a single objective, regardless of setbacks. Such objectives are set by strong 

Varying emotions are triggered by specific organs, developed by nature over millions of years. Each subsystem triggers signals, which enable the achievement of a specific objective. A reptilian system initiates signals, which act to satisfy hunger and thirst. Anger and fear signals from the amygdala generate fight, or flight responses. The insula generates emotions like guilt and love, which act to support social cohesion.

Myriad competing emotions offer as many objectives to the system. Imagine an 
intuitive decision making
 process, which chooses the most powerful emotion as the current motor control option. When a specific emotional signal is strong and persistent, the system focuses on the objective of that emotion. The process causes people to become emotionally motivated.

A Biological Theory Of Motivation – 
What Is The Effect Of Neural Plasticity & LTP?

The amygdala dispatches fight, or flight responses to avoid pain. Love and compassion are emotions, which sense the pain of others. Jealousy and envy are emotions, which feel the pain of failure, when confronted by competition, or failure. The amygdala triggers avoidance behaviors, which seek to lessen pain. The amygdala also remembers. Neural plasticity and long term potentiation (LTP) are neural phenomena, which set off “speed dial circuits” which make the amygdala persist with its fight or flight signals.

Speed dial circuits are created in the organ by particularly painful experiences, or when a person dwells repeatedly on memories of painful events. The system focuses persistently on the objectives of the dominant emotion, which could be fear, anger, compassion, or envy. The system returns from any diversion to a single goal, which seeks to avoid the remembered pain of these emotions. When these emotions lead to positive results, people are said to be dedicated. When they lead to antisocial results, people are called fanatics.

A Biological Theory Of Motivation 
How Does Pleasure Contribute?

The potential for pleasure motivates. The feeling of pleasure had been shown to be located in the septal areas of the brain for rats. The animals were observed when they were able to self stimulate themselves, by pressing a lever, through electrodes implanted in the septal area. They continued pressing the lever till they were exhausted, preferring the effect of stimulation to normally pleasurable activities such as consuming food. For human beings, the highest pleasure is a sense of fulfilment in their careers. Such a sense of fulfilment varies between people.

Different things please different people. While one is thrilled by the sound of music, another delights in the exploration of history. Not everyone is lucky enough to be employed in a field which grants them a true sense of fulfilment. A talented musician may not enjoy bagging grocery. While people can seek employment in agreeable fields, the majority of people can only seek an adequate income, which can bring them joy in their favored fields. Money can also be a powerful motivator.

A Biological Theory Of Motivation – 
Do Some People Lack Motivation?

The characteristics of motivation are preset in the nervous system. Some people have great skills and talents. Others inherit, or subconsciously modulate neural circuits, which make them loving and compassionate. Still others find immense pleasure in the products and services, which their jobs provide to people. Society praises such people as being motivated.

The large majority of people are not so fortunate. They choose a career by accident. They pay little conscious attention to their work, which is usually a matter of unconscious habit. Such people have a few 
 to become more motivated. They can evaluate their own strengths and weaknesses and choose a career, which appeals to their passions, or where they can be excellent. They can learn on the job and bring excellence through continuous study and practice.

A Biological Theory Of Motivation – 
What Is The Intuition Theory?

The neural network is a biological system. It carries within it vast inherited and acquired knowledge. An intuitive process, which makes instant contextual decisions from available knowledge powers the activities of the mind. The Intuition Theory holds that, when this process is supported by the stimulus of talent, pleasure, passion, or learned ability, motivation is increased.

This page was last updated on 28-Jan-2016.

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