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Neurohacking - Tutorials
Written by NHA   
Thursday, 13 October 2011 19:35
Article Index
Neurohacking Tutorial 7 - Imagination & Related Abilities
Network 3 & Mirror Neurons
Perception From the Bottom Up
What Happens if Things Go Wrong
The Mind's Inner Model
NHA Guide to Methods & Technology
The Most Important Bits to Remember
Hacks & Exercices
Notes, References & Answers
All Pages




What Happens if Things Go Wrong?


Hopefully you’ll understand by now that the causes of problems for imagination are going to be the same causes of problems facing all networks and all other functions of intelligence –yes you got it! Wrong input and/or lack of input plus the attendant incongruity and anxiety.


Problems with whole networks: poor connections or unbalanced networks

To make its interpretations, N3 relies partly on the quality of input from networks 1&2. N1&2 are like the film crew with cameras and microphones filming a scene- if the senses are faulty (say the lens is dirty or the scene is obscured by shadows or background noise), the information is sparse and N3 doesn’t capture as much data as it could do. But despite the quality of the cameras, if the camera operator isn't paying attention and adjusting to point them at the right things, or the sound guy doesn't press 'record', valuable information will be missed (that's no input). It will also be missed if a load of noisy tourists gets between the sensors and the subject (that's wrong input).

We need good sensors and good control of the crew operating those sensors in order to concentrate and avoid irrelevant distractions. That's why these primary input networks; the rear networks, must be balanced if we are to progress.

Your NH tools for adjusting rear networks are anxiety reduction and input control. (We’ll discuss input control for developing imagination later). If you’ve read all the tutorials so far, we think you already know about the importance of anxiety reduction. If you know you need to implement anxiety control (and most of us do) the important thing now is to find whatever methods work best for you and practise them.

The following are some common ways in which poor connections and/or unbalanced networks can trip us up at this stage:


If networks 1 & 2 are underused, wrongly used or sparsely connected to each other and/or N3, the quality of input to N3 and consequently all further nets will be compromised. It will be hard work to develop imagination until you have got all this supporting machinery up and running on the correct tasks.

If 1 & 2 are out of balance, not only is all input compromised, but we will have difficulty synchronizing the stretch-relax cycle in all learning and in all behavior -we will tend to do too much or not enough or swing from one to the other. In certain combinations with underused/wrongly used front nets in extreme, serious problems like paranoia, hypertension or bipolar disorder can occur.

Insufficient density in rear nets can lead to some peculiar side effects too. Fear of heights (acrophobia; often mislabeled ‘vertigo’) for example is linked to problems perceiving (imaging correctly) vertical data, significantly overestimating vertical distances.

The stronger the fear, the bigger the error, and anxiety increases the misjudgement (all anxious persons tend to overestimate vertical but not horizontal distances)[14].


Problems with parts of networks/network functions

If attention is faulty the senses will not stay on any one thing long enough to get a high resolution picture and imagination will be limited by input quality.

If observation is faulty the senses may stay on one thing but thoughts are elsewhere, clear percepts do not form, and imagination cannot make the right associations because it's too busy processing what you're thinking about instead of what you're doing now. This is a fine thing if we're doing it on purpose as a hack (for example, because the lecturer is boring), but not at all fine when it happens to us without our informed consent.

Either of these problems will increase unconscious anxiety, prevent concentration and make learning difficult, and in extreme could get you diagnosed with ADHD.


If association and N3's inner model are inaccurate due to wronguse, perception will be warped and misinterpretation is likely.

A naturally developing imagination (and ours, if we develop it) is very tightly structured according to existing hard wired concepts and categories in its model. When it isn't, there is poor association and incongruity. Being educated to be an analytical logical thinker ahead of time (as many of us are) often prevents us from building up these natural associations from core eidetic bases, instead replacing them with synthetic associations such as that between fatness and wealth or that between school work and learning.

Making connections where none should naturally exist is wronguse, (and its also exactly what advertising does).

Once we're mentally healthy and going in the right direction, we don't associate unrelated things; when imagination is aligned with reality things that are associated in reality are automatically associated in imagination, because one is an accurate copy (mirroring) of the other.

If N3 is short of mirror neurons due to nonuse, association will be limited and imagination will be poor, this can limit or even prevent the development of any skills requiring their function. N3 neurons need a high density population to achieve many tasks, and inner perception is like the resolution of the picture on your monitor screen; the more pixels (neural connections) you have, the more complete and accurate is the picture, because more detail can be represented without compression.

If N3 has insufficient input, it will be in nonuse even if good populations of mirror neurons are there, they will not be functional and will tend to degrade with time.

These conditions also increase unconscious anxiety and make learning difficult, and in extreme they are features of some types of autism & aspergers syndrome.


Lack of mirror neurons & autism

In 2001, researchers hypothesized that a deficit in the mirror neuron system could explain some of the problems of autism.

People with autistic syndromes have mirroring defects. Aspergers syndrome people often have great difficulty using the whole rear end and parts of N4, and it is almost always associated with early long term wronguse of N5 and lack of input for earlier networks, particularly lack of bonding and real world sensorimotor experience. The evidence indicates that mirror system dysfunction in these cases reflects an impairment in identifying with and assigning personal significance to unfamiliar people and things (in other words, percepts cannot find concepts to match up with and remain unrecognized).[15]

Many of the 'social difficulties' blamed on aspergers are due to lack of mirror neurons, but this lack is in turn due not to some congenital disorder but to lack of any good examples to copy. In short, a lot of aspergers people are just plain rude because their families, friends, teachers and favorite TV characters are habitually rude and don't think politeness is important -and this is equally true of a great many people without aspergers.

Since the construction of the association database and our inner model depends partly on the functions of mirror neurons, lack of use will restrict their development, as it does all other cells. The system defaults to ‘cannot find association’ for everyday memory and the attitude defaults to resistance to change. But the failure of any part of the brain to develop (except in cases of injury or sometimes genetics) can normally be traced back to the failure of an earlier part to fully develop, which lacked the input triggers on which it in turn depended.

A retraining of mirror neurons to respond appropriately to natural stimuli via N1 & 2 and integrate association in N3 may reduce the social symptoms of autism, and one research group has been using neurofeedback training to successfully renormalize functioning in this system. Enough healthy input over time grows sufficient density of mirror neurons to allow further development, and good examples ensure healthy use.[16]

This is why it’s important to practice NH as well as reading about it; only the hacks and exercises can produce those input triggers; the words on this page cannot. Only walking the path yourself can grow your mind.

If rear nets are well balanced but there are problems with functions relating to front nets, start work on the earliest weak network. Differences in types of problem arise:

  1. Well balanced rear nets but poor connections from N3 to N6. In the healthy default for adult persons with a fully functional brain, N6 and N3 will be working together as the central processing unit. There is a lot more processing power available in tandem with N6 than N3 has on its own. If N3 is strong, but there are poor connections to or a sparsely formed N6, some of what is going on in the inner model will be interpreted as coming from outside the organism. The result is the tendency to projection -the habit of perceiving in everyone else the faults that we actually have ourselves. There are likely to be problems with decision making, especially where morals or priorities are concerned, reluctance to take any responsibility, and a morbid fear of blame. Poor connections between N3 & 6 can even cause us to see 'ghosts' or externalized visions, and in the extreme delusions or hallucinations. These are not necessarily unpleasant, but can be disorienting.

    This is a simple case of wrong interpretation of where information is coming from, and so wrong categorization. Some percepts are faulty, but they are sent on for processing anyway assumed to be correct and N3 tries to match them to reality and reality to them. Incongruity results, and anxiety increases. “Why am I surrounded by incompetents?” the incompetent person yells, unaware that what is really annoying them unconsciously is the failure of their own mind to competently make sense out of its input.

    People are especially prone to this problem if other front nets are sparse. Such persons will also have difficulties planning and strategizing well, taking effective decisions or making successful and accurate judgments. Memory problems with facts figures and procedures also occur. If this sounds like you, start work on the earliest underactive (lack of input) AND overactive (wrong input) network. Exercise the former, hack the latter.


  2. Well balanced rear nets but poor quality N4 or N5 connections to N3. This happens often. If you’ve done a FA you’ll know whether your front networks may be underactive. If rear nets are balanced, it’s still possible to have sparse connections from N3 to N4 or N5 or both.

    If the connection between N3 & N4 is poor we will have trouble organizing things and problems with seeing 'the big picture', tending to get distracted by details and forget priorities. Creativity may be low, and we may be uncomfortable with machinery or technology, feeling we are 'out of our depth'. We may not understand metaphors and we'll almost certainly have difficulties with social skills, aesthetics, synthesis, and interaction. Self-control can be an issue, as can dedication to long term goals and projects. If N3-N5 connection is strong, linguistic problems can arise -we can use language formally but not poetically. Sense of humor may suffer.

    If the connection between N3 & N5 is poor we will have self esteem problems, poor forward-planning skills, accounting and analysis problems, and we may be uncomfortable with math or logic skills. It will be more difficult for us to look at ourselves objectively for feedback, or to be objective about emotive situations. If N3-N4 connection is strong, literacy problems can arise -we can use language poetically but not formally. Weak N3-N5 connection is an unusual situation if rear nets are balanced though, and it doesn't happen very often.

  3. Well balanced rear nets and good connections to front nets but lack of density in the Corpus Callosum (the ‘main bus’ connecting 4 & 5). If this is sparse it’s very difficult (though not impossible) to balance front nets. We always seem to be 'in two minds' about things and have difficulty making decisions, predicting and making judgments. Self-control can be a problem and we can go to extremes if we are not careful. Playing a musical instrument is one of the finest ways to address this problem!

We’ll include exercises for these problems at the end. If you work on your networks in the right order you will avoid most of these problems, because connections between networks will improve automatically as you start using networks as intended.

Problems with database content in N3 itself

Large differences in processing are notable between persons with congruously associative eidetic image databases and those without. In those with congruous association, faster learning, easy interaction, high empathy and good social skills are apparent from an early age. In those with inconguent association, difficulties in learning, poor empathy and lack of social skills predominate regardless of the state of networks or connections between networks.

Any past wrong use such as schooling, television, physical restraint and wrong examples will have impeded our association nets from forming congruously; because what N3 needs most to form the inner model is simple autonomy -freedom to explore what it wants when it wants and how it wants, without having any value judgment placed upon experience. This is play, and it's the only way to develop the brain.

When the brain is developing imagination, lack of play =no input, but inner-model-making must go ahead as best it can, grabbing at things that might be associated and trying to fit them into its model. The more wrong associations that are made, the harder it then becomes to 'do more of the jigsaw'. The model is incongruous and the world seems not to make sense.

Fantasy play is equally important to sensorimotor play, for the developing imagination. Fantasy play teaches us imagery transfer –we have one item but can imagine it’s another item, or we have ourselves but can imagine we are someone else or somewhere else. Imagery transfer is exactly what we need to learn in order to abstract ideas from concrete information. Play is always in the service of development, and we play in fantasy in order to learn the mind's process for abstraction in real life.

To the mind, play is always training that enables further development. We begin to see real congruous associations between one thing and another; between fantasy and reality, fact and fiction, for a vital start. To do this well, we need a ‘touchstone’; something grounded firmly in concrete material reality to compare our play world against and clearly understand the differences; our 'safe known', from which to venture confidently into the unknown. At the age when this network is intended to be growing (optimally between ages 4-7), this ‘touchstone’ would be our parents.

The touchstone must be not only real and materially present, but permanent; something the child has known for as long as s/he can remember and that never goes out of hearing distance. If the parent is present (and even better, joins in), exploration of the world of imagination in play is safe, shared with loved ones, and significant, and development of mental abilities goes ahead fast and smoothly.

Leaving a child with strangers AT ALL before age seven removes this touchstone. If this happened to you (and it happens to most of us when we're incarcerated in school), you will benefit most from starting work on the earliest underactive net before starting work on N3. Rest assured, a congruous association net can be structured at any age, and once you begin the process, your brain will be delighted to help!

We'll include exercises & hacks to help you build up congruous association & strong imagination skills in all intermediate tutorials. You'll learn more about the inner model and congruous association over the next few tutorials.


Problems with neurotransmitters or receptors

Some problems that can affect imagination are neurochemical. Without the appropriate neurochemistry, networks are receiving and sending inaccurate messages (this can also happen if connections are wrongly wired or damaged). Paranoia, schizophrenia and mania are three good examples of how our beliefs about input and where it is coming from can skew our perception and memory alike.

Most neurochemical imbalance is caused by anxiety, and this is why it remains NH enemy # 1. Accidents and trauma are also risk factors, as is diet.

There are so many ways to adjust neurochemistry that discussing them would take up a whole tutorial, but there are really only a few things to bear in mind. One is, learn how the system works. Once you understand what causes what, you can practice prevention rather than cure. Learn about the associations between animal behaviors, neurotransmitters and networks. “Know yourself”.

A second point is that with any neurochemical imbalance, look first at your input control and anxiety reduction. Anyone who is living on corn chips and fizzy cola, yelling at people, waking up to alarm clocks or watching soaps isn’t taking their NH –or their neurochemistry- seriously. That’s fine; you don’t have to take NH seriously but you DO have to accept the reality that IF you’re not taking NH seriously THEN you can't expect big or fast improvements.


Practising NH is like anything else –take karate, for example. Some people do karate for a bit of a laugh, fitness, health or self-protection, others really want to be Bruce Lee, or able to do stunts in movies, others will end up taking the Buddhist path and living in a monastery. We place no value judgment on your reasons for doing NH but we do feel competent to judge that it won't work well unless you know yourself and are clear about what your reasons are and actually practice.

A lot of neurochemical imbalances are ordinarily treated top-down at the symptom level and relief is temporary. If you’re not getting the results you would like, look at your level of commitment to change in the simple bottom-up areas of your life before seeking complex psychological explanations for transmitter imbalance. 95% of the time the bottom-up changes made by anxiety reduction and input control result in the greatest growth and the fastest balancing. And when you’re treating root causes instead of symptoms, relief and improvement are permanent.

The golden rules “always do things in the right order” and “If the brain doesn’t get what it needs, the mind won’t do what you want” become sharply apparent at this stage in your NH. There really is no getting around this if you want permanent change; you have to give the brain what it needs and you have to do so in the right order. Doing this builds up and balances your rear networks first so that all others can confidently depend on them.

Working on N3 will automatically improve all other nets. Almost always, problems with frontal nets affecting intellect or creativity can be hacked automatically by working on earlier networks; most especially N3.




When you make a mistake, congratulate yourself on growing your brain!

"..if you don't make mistakes you're not really trying". -Coleman Hawkins (musician)

…First thing that is taught in special forces’ CQC (close quarters combat) = How to fall over, from various heights.


If imagination doesn’t develop well, all networks are going to be affected. Wrong input or lack of input to any network that receives information from sensory neurons (N1, 2 & 3) will result in a memory database full of unreliable information and a model full of incongruous associations, compromising all functions relying on their data all over the brain.

This does not just mean the networks “further forward”, because wrong feedback from any network to any other network is also wrong input. If initial input is unreliable, ‘feedback’ signals from frontal lobes based on its information are also unreliable (garbage in=garbage out). Any rear network that is either not doing very much or trying to do the wrong things really is going to affect the whole of your intelligence.

! Snapback warning: It's a fact that most mistakes in NH are made either right at the beginning, or whilst working on network 3.

The sudden discovery that we are probably not making as much sense of the world as we could be, and that our perception is probably inaccurate, comes home hard to intermediate NHers. We've already climbed one mountain and kicked ass against the anxiety dragon, and I guess we kinda felt that it's all going to be plain (or at least plainER) sailing now we've got the dragon under surveillance and we're able to chill out and get some R & R whenever we need to. Then all of a sudden there's this whole other level of stuff to start taking on board and if we get a bit swamped, snapback can happen. It usually happens the first time we make a mistake; often something simple in our everyday lives such as a failed communication or trouble with a relationship.

The first time any confusing or depressing shit happens, anxiety will try to tell you (rearloaders) NH is all a load of nerdy emotionless scientific terminlogy that has nothing to do with real life or (frontloaders) NH is a load of old woo woo new age pseudo science crap.

If you find yourself thinking either of these, The Matrix has you. If you do nothing, anxiety will start to fill your mind with 'I told you; life is shit and then you die' or 'human nature can't be changed and you'll always be worthless and you can't cope' messages, so cut it off at the password right away!

Go do your relaxation techniques and review & practice your input control. Watch some comedy. Then come back here with a clearer more acute mind and consider this: if anxiety's hypothesis is that NH doesn't work, how did we predict it's reaction? : )

Smile. Take a cookie. We promise when you're done eating it you'll feel right as rain.


Space corps directive 404a: No time traveling after errors

We know that we rely on our perception for appropriate interaction. Common sense tells us this; if we don’t notice (perceive) something we are obviously not able to respond to it or remember it.

We are normally also aware of the status of our own senses –our beliefs that we are awake, aware, sober and of sound mind (or conversely an awareness that we may be drunk or hallucinating) are equally valuable in order for our perception to have any meaning.

This ‘awareness’ of our own state is also perception (and it can go wrong, for example we can misjudge our mental and physical state in intoxication, hypothermia, shock, heatstroke, illness or anxiety).

Our perception is our only experience of reality –whatever we imagine is “out there” we believe to be out there, and because we are able to imagine reality very well and can experience feedback to confirm it means that we get it right most of the time (the reason why we don’t think of it as ‘imaginary’).

A good imaginary model of reality that behaves just like the original is not going to draw deliberate attention to the fact that it is a simulation. This is why we can’t tell that we are constantly imagining, from moment to moment, what is going on “out there”. What we imagine is usually correct, or at least close enough for us not to notice.

When imagination gets it wrong, initially it causes confusion, misunderstandings and accidents. We imagined that our car would fit through that space, or that this task would only take a few moments, or that we’d left our keys right there on the table, or that our thumb really was further away from that cheese knife, or that so-and-so was our friend, or that all people from a particular place were dumb, or that the door was where it used to be but Woops! We were wrong!

Valuable mistakes like these teach imagination to get it right and fine tune our perception. New findings[18] establish a physiological measure linking this trial outcome and learning directly to brain plasticity.

Up to 50% of recorded hippocampal cells differentiate between correct and error responses. Many of them also respond more strongly to particular object-place combinations as learning improves. (This suggests that the cells' ability to make distinctions between correct and incorrect trial outcomes influences new learning through plasticity, by fine tuning a cell's sensitivity to the signals available to it.) Mistakes trigger ‘smart wiring’ programs that help the brain improve its own performance.

They don’t achieve this if we’re worried or guilty though (cortisol causes hippo cells to overfire, eventually burning them out).

So now you know –when you make a cock up, don’t turn it into a flamingo up (like a cock up only much bigger) by worrying or feeling guilty about it. Celebrate the fact that right now you’re growing new brain cells to fine-tune your mind –and that the mistake provided exactly the data you needed in the here and now to make you even smarter in the future.

Most importantly, don't go time travelling after errors. LEAVE MISTAKES BEHIND! Trust your intelligence. If you get in its way by insisting on concentrating on the mistake and obsessing over what you should or should not have done in the past, or worrying that it might happen again in the future you are slowing the process down, plus you may well cock up more things because if you’re not fully here in the present, you’re not paying attention to what’s going on here and now.

If you make a mistake, don’t time travel in order to stay in the past where it happened –leave it behind, keep moving forward in development. If you make a series of mistakes in learning,

sure, have a brief look to sum up what happened, what it was you fell over and where, etc, but don’t obsess over it consciously. Consider whether the brain is getting what it needs (food, sleep, interaction etc) or if it is an external problem such as needing more information. Review where you are in the learning cycle, and behave accordingly. Let it go. Be aware that with just the input it has already and maybe a dream or two to make associations in memory, your brain can do all the work of changing stuff around in itself, your body and your mind so that you won’t cock up in the same way again.

Imagination splices together our ‘embodied’ experience of perception –our ability to imagine the ‘big picture’ accurately, and fine-tunes it with error/correct feedback. Without experience of mistakes, this fine tuning won’t occur. As we eliminate moves that lead to error by adjusting sensitivity in response to errors, we can edit together all the successful moves into the fine-tuned procedures we are learning. The neuronal paths that led to the mistake will no longer be available. If we practice new tasks or skills in a time schedule suited to the learning cycle, this happens fast.


Virtual reality embodiment

The incredible speed and parallel nature of our processing of events embodied in reality does not ordinarily reveal imagination’s editing process and it remains largely unconscious. This makes life seem like a smooth ongoing flow; we experience life as a continuum, not as a series of jumps and starts or bits or movie frames or individual signals but as a whole ‘movie’ plus more –in fact our perception of life is a complete 3-D interactive real time immersion experience; it’s like being inside of a totally realistic virtual reality computer game; and unconscious awareness of this aspect of perception has led to several conspiracy theories that humans are virtual reality beings trapped in a computer (probably invented by people with poor connections between N3 & N6).

The simple truth is, because of our superfast processing rate, instead of a series of glimpses of what might be going on 'out there', imagination creates and sustains a perceptual “holomovie” experience or ‘virtual reality embodiment.’ This is how the coherent, complex and ordered ‘big picture’ of reality can emerge from a few layers of simple cell machinery following a set of basic processes.



Use your imagination

You're going to use your imagination to make a graphic model, because this way you can do your NH practical and theory at the same time!

You will need: a pen/pencil or their software equivalents on screen, and your NH diary.

Imagine a future movie studio. This studio is where they make the 3D movies; all CGI. The building is a single storey (ground floor only).

The game: Draw a simple floor plan of this studio in your NH diary, bearing the following facts in mind (read through them all before you start):


There is a big central room that has 5 corridors, each leading to another room. The central room is room ‘3’, it is called the Production & Editing room (you should write their names in).


  • Room 6 is in the north (at the top of your map)

  • Rooms 1 and 5 are on the west side

  • Rooms 2 & 4 are on the east side

  • There is a corridor joining rooms 1 & 2

  • There is a corridor joining rooms 4 & 5

  • There is a corridor from room 4 to room 6

  • There is a corridor from room 5 to room 6

  • Try to keep your corridors as short as possible.

  • The other rooms are called (1) Camera, Stills & Props; (2) Robotics, Motion Animation & Backgrounds; (4) Plot Dynamics & continuity; (5) Dialog, SFX & Presentation and (6) Direction.

These facts only should restrict your design. Go ahead and sketch it out.


You've just designed your own simple model of the brain. Although this is a 2-D map, it should help you see why the brain is put together the way it is (maximum ease of data transfer between associated ‘rooms’ (networks) that do closely related processes).

The physiological architecture of the real brain is restricted by the same requirements, but the inner model that it forms of the world has different restrictions. We're now going to construct an 'inner model' of reality based on congruous association that will help you understand how the mind does so.


Last Updated on Monday, 29 May 2017 13:14