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Neurohacking - Tutorials
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Friday, 11 January 2013 00:37




Neurohacking Tutorial 10

Emotion, relationships & interaction

(Updated: Jan 2013)

In tutorial 9 we explored emotion and its associations with human motivation, perception, behavior and memory. In this tutorial we look at emotion in its most familiar context; human communication and relationships. We will explore the difference between emotion-based, congruous interaction and sentiment-based incongruous action/reaction, and how this difference directs the course of our relationships -and our lives- towards success or failure.

To do this, we need to start looking at network 4 and how it interacts with other networks to enable some of our most creative abilities. We also need to do something N4 is very good at doing -step back and look at 'the big picture'; the basic processes going on regardless of details.

We complement this information with practical methods for maintaining emotional stability and improving communication in relationships; we can use Roger's Core Conditions and techniques like Interactional Analysis and Co counseling to equip ourselves with the core skills for successful interaction.


Follow the Right Habit

Understanding human relationships depends upon knowing why people do what they do, why we do what we do, and how we can change what we have habitually been doing if we wish to.

This tutorial is for those who would rather change bad habits than accept relationship problems as 'normal'. It will be challenging for some as it confronts us with the fact that we are responsible for what happens in our lives from now on, regardless of what has happened in the past. But for those who want to, learning about our behavioral and communication habits can enable change, development of self-control and greater autonomy (self-direction), waking us up to the reality of our freedom of choice to direct the course of our own lives.

A great many of humanity's difficulties arise within relationships. There are lots of 'self help' books about social skills that seem to make sense until we try to put them into practice and discover that in reality relationships are much more dynamic and complex than most self-help authors realize, and most 'solutions' are inevitably temporary. Nowhere in popular press is there a simple background guide to the dynamics of behavior that helps us find permanent answers to old recurring problems. We present one here.

Understanding biology's own background rules and programming procedures; the basics behind all the complex details, is what gives us the guidelines to put theory into practice for permanent change, and the methods described here give us the tools. Roger's Core Conditions are a proven formula for success in interaction, Interactional Analysis shows us how to turn harmful current habits into beneficial ones, and Co counseling enables us to re-weight our own emotional memories into congruency and prevent anxious reactions.

Our usual culprits nonuse and wronguse are the two clues that reveal the answer of “why people do what they do”. Often, the simple answer is, “unthinking, automatic, anxiety-based habit”.

Research shows the specific area of the brain that appears to control habit-change is part of the Ventromedial Prefrontal Cortex; a chain of midline regions connecting N3 to N6. [1]

The 'Prelimbic' region is responsible for our voluntary response performance, and the 'Infralimbic' cortex (ILC) reduces the ability of past habits or indoctrination to override present autonomous benefit-directed behavior. The ILC communicates directly with the Amygdala and is able to modulate the Amy's responses. The brain uses GABA for this process and it also enables 'overwriting' of old habits. [2]

This link, between the Amy and the ILC, marks our transition from automation to autonomy (and quite possibly from unconscious to conscious beings). If we could point to brain parts and say, 'there lies the ability to use free will', the ILC would be at the top of the list.

Obviously, brain anatomy is not that simple and it takes multiple networks working together to achieve most tasks, but it is known that when the ILC is stimulated electrically, conditioned anxiety is reduced and emotional/behavioral regulation becomes possible.

When the ILC stays comfortably asleep, and change happens, we make mistakes, and the term 'absent-minded' is laughingly accurate. Hands up all those who ever 'absent-mindedly' turned up at their place of work on a bank holiday, a weekend, or forgot to change their clocks when such things were occurring nationally? Anyone ever find themselves walking into a wall where a door used to be, or going to the room where they USED to keep the archives until two weeks ago, or turning left instead of right out of the elevator because you did that for five years until they moved your office?

When long-familiar routines, locations of items, or required behaviors change (for example, we move an item of furniture, decide to keep our keys somewhere new, have to park somewhere different, or a friend changes their phone number), chances are we'll make one or two mistakes at first and go to the 'old place' or call the old number out of sheer habit until we 'get used to' the new conditions. This is NOT a sign of memory failure or decrepitude, so don't worry; it's just that 'getting used to' new conditions needs the ILC to register the change, interrupt the old habit and remind us to now 'go to the new place' or 'do the new thing'. Sometimes it needs more than a couple of errors (like banging our head on the shelf that never used to be there) in order to get the message, but practice pays off.

Many of our old bad habits are similarly neither voluntary nor successful-outcome-directed, but once we recognize this, the brain's natural ability to overwrite habits can be harnessed to take control of our own behavior and responses. Using tools such as Rogers' Core Conditions, we can 'remind' the unconscious of where we are going now, direct it along the way, and help prevent it using old habitual associations that led to previous bad outcomes. At the same time we are using the new routes, making it much easier to take on beneficial new habits faster and use them right away.


For you/against you: interaction versus action/reaction

For you: Interaction

On your side in changing harmful habits in relationships is interaction, which is technically a two-way flow of information between systems that maintains a dynamic equilibrium; for example between a person and another person, a person and a group, a person and a context, a person and a skill for learning, and even between a person and an object, tool or machine. All these relationships, if they're healthy, should be interactions.

In true interaction the interactor/s always gains (that is to say, those interacting come out the other end of a process or series of events having gained more than they have lost during the exchange), and every interacting agent involved gains too. In other words, we get the most beneficial results possible out of each situation. It is the program by which human beings achieve entelechy, or 'Rogers' Actualizing Tendency'.

This is NOT 'getting something for nothing', because we are not closed systems. In interaction, every agent involved, surprisingly even non-living ones, can benefit. Exercise is a good example of an interaction. Our body interacts with weights or treadmills or the physical space around us, we gain muscle tissue and healthier body tissues, we lose energy and excess fat. We are not a closed system, and resources like muscle tone and agility cannot be got without nutrients and energy, but since energy is easily replaced by eating, on the whole we win; burning energy is worth it when it helps an organism stay healthier and live longer.

The tools we exercise with benefit too in their own small way, because we'll always keep them in good condition. Others may also benefit by observing us, learning, or interacting with us and making friends.

Another great example of interaction, this time with the environment, is living a sustainable lifestyle with renewable resources. This is interaction with our ecosystem, and when any species does it, they thrive (and so does the environment). Get used to thinking of interaction like this -as a system where only those who are using it succeed.

In interpersonal interaction, both parties emerge having gained something. You've probably experienced interaction yourself -those exchanges that leave us feeling energized, inspired, fulfilled, uplifted, mirthful, motivated, relaxed or excited, are interactions, and if you have experienced such exchanges before then you have interacted already.

You'll also have noticed that good interactions usually happen with those you like, admire, respect or love; that they happen spontaneously of your own free will, and that they don't seem to happen if either party is anxious, insecure, coercive, or fearing loss. This is because interaction needs healthy emotion and autonomy of behavior. It needs our real selves.

Why is interaction such a broadly applicable algorithm for success? Because interaction is what intelligence DOES. In one sense, interaction is ALL intelligence does; when the intelligence-emergence program is running, interaction is the process and intelligence the output; it is through interaction that intelligence gets everything done, including its own growth and development.

Everything else, including perception, prediction, imagination and memory, functions in the service of, and as subroutines for, interaction. Most of the unconscious programs we've looked at so far are functioning in the service of interaction and following the same set of basic rules; the differences are only in the details. We'll be looking at how interaction follows those same rules during this tutorial, and focusing on the details of its role in personal relationships.


Against you: Action/reaction

Working against you in this endeavor to change harmful habits, are action and reaction, the unthinking automatic habitual behaviors based on sentiment and anxiety. Action and reaction are one-way movements of information towards or away from a person, in which someone always loses, and usually despite appearances everybody does, and often people get hurt, emotionally or physically. In other words, we get harmful results.

No object or process in itself can have moral values placed upon it, and 'action/reaction' results are NOT intrinsically bad; sometimes we really need to harm things to survive. One good example would be blowing away an asteroid headed for earth; this would require an action/reaction result called a controlled explosion. We use action/reaction results on purpose for all sorts of useful things; like digesting our dinner, effectively getting out of earth orbit, keeping ourselves warm, transport, getting chemistry to do things, defending ourselves, mining, and powering our technology so that we can build computers and read tutorials like this.

Action/reaction results are very useful in their place, but their appropriate place is inside a combustion engine, stomach, or tactical missile; not in human relationships. The important things to remember about them are (a) we really don't want to get in their way when they happen, and (b) We really don't want to cause them by accident in inappropriate conditions.

Because action/reaction results tend to blow things up or dissolve them away. They always involve the fatality, diminishment, decay or loss of something, and they are equally fatal in personal relationships. Volatile mindless chemicals react; human beings are designed to respond. Nice dudes don't explode.

Interaction in human relationships keeps behavior in the green zone; a stable dynamic equilibrium that enables growth and development. Action and reaction behaviors are outside the zone in opposite directions. In human relationships, healthy emotional and behavioral response goes together with interaction as strongly as sentiment goes together with action/reaction. If we're emotionally balanced, we're probably already interacting.


DO IT NOW -Interactional analysis quickie

This is a short example of an Interactional Analysis. You almost certainly won't be able to answer all these questions just yet, but looking at situations like this from an objective point of view is a big help when examining our own behavior. After the tutorial, come back to this exercise and see if you can complete it. No answers are given; there should be enough info in the tutorial to get the answers after you've read it.


Read the short extract and answer the questions below it.

Alice, Bob, Carl and Donna are having a drink in a bar. A large drunk stumbles over, points a finger at them and says “Oy! You staring at my bird??”

Alice looks disgusted and says, “YOU can get a girlfriend?!”

Bob looks up very bleary-eyed and mumbles, “I'm waaaaaaaay too drunk man!” and passes out, sliding sideways on the seat.

Carl scowls and says “Don't start trouble with me, asshole.”

Donna grins and says, “Not me mate, my eyesight's so crap I can only see about as far as my beer.”



1 Probabilities: Who is most likely to get hurt? Who is least likely to get hurt?

2 Who is putting the whole group in the most danger?

3 Who is interacting, and who is using action-reaction?

4 What other responses might take place?

5 Can you think of acquaintances of your own who would behave like any of our characters if they were in this situation?

6 If you were with the group when this happened, what would YOU be most likely to say or do?


Structure & Function

Although we are focusing on its role in personal relationships in this tutorial, as THE major program that allows intelligence itself to emerge, grow and develop, interaction is involved with most tasks in a healthy brain. It enables the learning cycle to take place and it enables memory storage.

Each network contributes to different types of interaction, and Network 4 plays a major part in personal interaction and cultural skills; not least because it houses procedural memory for complex behaviors. It also plays a major role in our congruous understanding of reality, (and we'll be looking more closely at that aspect in tutorial 11.)

The major player in the brain for intelligence is always our 'CPU'; N3-N6, and interaction itself is a CPU function, but all frontal nets rely on rear networks, whose subroutines they recruit and abstract for various processes. So in looking at N4; a main supporting network in interaction, we must also consider the roles of the hippo and other parts of mid- and rear networks involved in supporting processing tasks of N4.



The hippo is marked in dark blue. Small purple blobs are the amygdalae. The thalamus is the pale blue object at the center.

Research published in Oct 2012 confirmed the hippo's central place in learning and memory, finding that different regions of the hippocampus have specific and sequential functions in the mastery of a complex task. [3]

The hippocampus can be divided into three areas termed ventral (vH), intermediate (iH) and dorsal hippocampus (dH). Even though the composition of the neuronal networks in each area is comparable, they differ in gene expression, connectivity, tuning and function.

It is already known that during learning new synapses are formed in the hippocampus. Research now shows that each learning stage, each part of the learning cycle, is associated with growth in a different region of the hippocampus.

First, during the 'gathering together'/concentration stage, when experiencing the unknown receptively, new synapses are formed in vH. With the change to stage 2 (moving out and adopting a seeking strategy), new synapse formation moves to iH. We now have a clear understanding of the basics of what we are trying to understand or learn. Thirdly, during the 'unity-separation' stage of modeling, synapse formation moves to dH. We now have the details and a fully formed concept in memory, which can be made long term. When we move to the fourth stage of learning; practice, network 4 becomes necessary; interacting with N3 to produce stable long term memories for what we are learning about or learning to do.

Nerve cell activity in the hippo is maintained in the green zone -too much synchronized communication between neurons can trigger a seizure, and too little impairs information processing, promoting neurodegeneration.

Neurons known as granule cells, located in the hippocampus' dentate gyrus, receive transmissions from the cortex. Those granule cells then pass that information to neurons in the CA3 region of the hippocampus. This connection can enhance or inhibit the volume of neurotransmission from the granule cells to the CA3 region to keep neurotransmission in the learning and memory areas of the hippocampus at an optimal flow—a concept known as homeostatic plasticity. If granule cells try to transmit too much activity, the synaptic junction tamps down the volume of transmission by weakening their connections, allowing the proper amount of information to travel to CA3 neurons. If there is not enough activity being transmitted by the granule cells, the synapses become stronger, pumping up the volume to CA3 so that information flow remains constant. The mossy fiber synapses on the CA3 neurons control the level of activity for the hippocampus—like the percussionist in a band who sets the pace for all the others.[150]

The hippo is known to be an area in which links between memories are formed (one for each association), but until recently it was not known that it is also involved in steering the mind towards making particular choices over others when faced with new decisions for which we have no previous experiences to draw on.

Our minds are biased to make certain choices based on unconscious memories we aren’t even aware of. Studies found that people in whom the hippo was most active in the second stage ('seeking'), when given a choice of images and asked to select 'favorites', are more likely to select images associated with benefits, but these same people also reported being unaware of the associations, which strongly suggests the associations are being made in the hippo at the unconscious level. The survival benefits of this unconscious awareness are obvious, as we noted in the previous tutorial. [4]

Subjects also showed a stronger bias towards images associated with benefits if there was heightened activity during the second stage in the regions of the brain associated with vision and/or in the striatum.

This is a transverse section of the striatum from a structural MR image. The striatum includes the caudate nucleus (red, top) and putamen (red, right). The image also includes the globus pallidus (red, lower left), which is sometimes included when using the term corpus striatum.

The striatum, as you will recall from tutorial 8, is a major input of the Basal Ganglia (BGs), activated by stimuli associated with benefit, but also by aversive, novel, unexpected or intense stimuli, and cues associated with such events. In short, assessing benefits and dangers in interaction and learning.

This is the first area we have explored that does not have any direct sensory link with the “world out there”. All of its input about “out there” is from N3 and courtesy of other rear networks. Where N3 and the striatum mediate the more unconscious aspects of both cultural-emotional and personal awareness in this front-to-back connection with N6, Networks 4 and 5 are organized such that two potentially independent but complementary systems for more conscious interactional processing symmetrically coexist; one at either side. They play a complementary role in memory and learning as each processes a different stage of these functions; Network 4 the 'practice'/consolidation stage and N5 'variation'/retrieval. They also play a complementary part in language comprehension, as we'll see in future tutorials, and in interaction. N4 is particularly supportive in personal and cultural interaction processes.

In order to be able to practise interaction, we need to build the tools we need to do it, and that needs networks to mature to a sufficient size that their connections achieve critical mass (density). Only when there is sufficient hardware, can intelligence's 'higher level' programs run. Procedures as concepts and constructs take up a processor all their own; and that's network 4. (Network 4 does other things too, but all are related to procedures -complex behaviors- order, regularity, synthesis, symmetry and ultimately, timing.)

So let's take a look at some of the things N4 helps us to do.

Network 4

First mistake to avoid: N4 is NOT the right hemisphere.

If we cut a brain in half from front to back sagittally*, we get two hemispheres.

The right hemisphere (the one with the right eyeball in it, from the owners pov) contains parts of several networks.

The 'hub' of N4 is a conglomerate of neuronal cell bodies towards the front and side of the right hemisphere (area marked in blue), whose axons go all over the brain. It is involved in processing both concrete and abstract temporal, group, contextual situations we will here call constructs.


Network 4 Functions

Construction, Synthesis & Creativity

N4 processes constructs. Definitions: A construct is big complex thing made up of smaller simple things; a synthesis of interacting agents that share both a similarity of function and a context.

Constructs may be concrete (for example cells, buildings, books, beehives, bees, orchestras) or abstract (for example facts, ideas, beliefs, memories, symbols, languages). As constructs they display both organization and duration through time. A database, a memory, a culture, an orchestra, an engine, a living body, a beating heart, a story, a machine, a garden, N3's inner model, an ants nest, a program and a library are all good examples of constructs. Constructs, by nature of their complexity, of necessity involve concept sets.

The heart (and quite possibly an ants' nest) is an 'automatic' construct. An orchestra on the other hand is an autonomic construct -we create it from our own free will by participating in the behaviors that define it and we consciously control its behavior as a unit by each playing our own part in a dynamic group interaction.** But not all constructs are made by us. Biology creates constructs too; the heart is one.

N4, just like N1, specializes in processing tasks involving timing, order, manipulation and control; but this time round, these processes are not employed in the concrete tasks of learning to control our own bodies and walk. That skill went automatic long ago, and we now apply the same processes to the manipulation of constructs -other objects, materials, and also of abstract constructs such as culture, art, language and mathematics.

Unsurprisingly, the same processes that allow us to construct things in real life such as shelters, tools, buildings and spaceships, also enable us to build images of (to imagine) abstract constructs in our minds such as scientific theories, designs, inventions, mathematical formulae and computer programs, and they contribute immensely to our design skills and creativity. Constructional as well as creative deficits are notably more severe after right hemisphere damage. [5]

To the core behaviors of gathering together, relaxation and balance that it shares with N1, N4 adds 'synthesis' (the opposite of analysis) -the process of bringing things together in specific ways to function in harmony or synchrony, which we use for creating constructs, from mud huts to space stations, from Beethoven's symphonies to Da Vinci's paintings to families and communities. Interaction is a two-way flow, and intelligence develops by continually moving from the concrete to the abstract and back again. Concrete input leads to abstract ideas, and abstract ideas lead to concrete inventions.


Procedural Memory & Categorization

Procedural memory is sometimes called 'implicit' memory in mainstream texts although in reality not much of procedural memory is implicit (and none of it is, when we first learn something new). Procedural memory is also sometimes confused with spatial memory. The difference lies in both the complexity of the agents processed and the complexity of processing.

Spatial memory processes 'coordinate' memories for simple behaviors, mapping and simple tool use. Procedural memory holds memories of abstract complex behaviors as 'procedures' and skills involving 'feedforward' synthesis; its tasks involve putting things together; such as programming a computer, designing a building, writing a poem, composing a symphony or putting together enough data and working out the maths to build the proof for a theory. Procedural memory is remembering the patterns of how things happen and how to do things. It stores complex abstract procedural concepts that require synthesis, such as composing, building, engineering, programming, cooperating, arranging, categorizing, constructing, synchronizing, and understanding things like hyperbolic geometry.

Categorization is central to any construct; the assembled parts must go together in the correct order in the right place, and respond appropriately to the needs of the construct, for example the walls of a building must be strong enough to support its roof and go in place before it, a database must select the correct items in the correct order when they are requested and all items in a database must be categorized accordingly, and a memory must likewise categorize and store items in a way that is expedient to their accurate and timely recovery.

As we know, a variety of neurochemical and neuroanatomical regions are involved in the formulation of memory throughout the brain.[6] N3 and N4 work together to categorize ALL memories during consolidation. All memory relies on the association between our concept sets in categories of different types, related to core concepts. Procedural memory relates to time and timing because all 'procedures' do; a procedure IS a series of events occurring through time.

Functional specialization greatly determines what type of material can be memorized or even recognized by each network. This is because the code or form in which a stimulus is represented in the brain and memory is determined by the location in which it is processed and the type of processes that take place there. Categorization ensures all concept sets 'match' the specialization requirements of the locations they are sent to and stored in.

N4 categorizes by looking for similarities between things and abstracting common properties (N5, in complement, individualizes by looking for differences and abstracting them). In fact, the role of the right hemisphere in face perception almost certainly descended from abilities of relatively early vertebrates to recognize the similarities in visual appearance of other individuals of their species and especially close allies. [7]

Researchers have highlighted additional complementary specialization of N4/N5 function as well. In humans all front networks can “take in the whole scene,” attending to the global aspects of our environment as well as having the ability to focus in on individual features. Specialization according to their types of processing then gives N4 substantial advantages in perspective, spatial and cultural relations as well as objective thinking. (N5, again complementarily, is much better at subjective thinking, spontaneity, self-assessment and introspection).

We'll be exploring procedural memory in more detail in tutorial 11.


Cultural skills: Cooperation, Behavioral Control, skill sharing, nurturing

The overall directive of frontal networks is “Change the context to fit in better with the agents needs”, and N4's personal directive is to play its part in achieving this through the behaviors, “create and cooperate”.

It has now been well established that the right frontal cerebral region is specialized in regard to the perception, expression and mediation of many aspects of cultural and interactional functioning.[8] fMRI has been used to directly examine the relationship between the Mirror Neuron System (MNS) activity and two distinct indicators of cultural functioning: empathy and interpersonal competence. Reliable activity in pars opercularis (the frontal component of the MNS), is elicited by observation and imitation of emotional expressions. Importantly, activity in this region (as well as in the anterior insula and amygdala) is significantly and positively correlated with established behavioral measures indexing empathic behavior (during both modeling and observation) and interpersonal skills (during modeling only). These findings suggest that modeling mechanisms and the MNS are very relevant to personal interaction in everyday life.[9]

Mirror neuron system activity. Panel A shows increased activity in mirror neuron areas during imitation of facial emotional expressions compared to null events. Also shown are activations in ventral premotor, primary motor, and somatosensory cortex, supplementary motor area, visual cortices, and the amygdala. Panel B compares activity in right pars opercularis during imitation and observation of facial emotional expressions.

During observation of emotional expressions, activity in MNS regions, insula, amygdala, and fusiform gyrus is positively correlated with tendency to empathize. Scatterplots depicting the correlation in right inferior frontal gyrus (IFG) with personal distress, empathic concern, and fantasy also produced significant correlations in this region; shown in panel B.

During imitation of emotional expressions, activity in MNS regions, insula, and amygdala is positively correlated with cultural abilities.

The right frontal cerebral area of N4 exerts control over our emotional weighting, behavior and attention, as well as memory consolidation and the practice stage of learning.[10] It also specializes in the perception, categorization and recognition of familiar and unfamiliar faces [11] and becomes more greatly activated when viewing faces, as measured by PET and regional cerebral blow flow.[12]

Observation and modeling of facial expressions, as well as body language and chemistry, helps us to empathize, and empathy and interpersonal competence help us with cooperation; the root of all cultural interaction; as well as being essential for behavioral control, skill sharing and nurturing young. N4 helps creatures to construct nests and to construct communities with the same simple set of guiding rules.


Dexterity, Complex Tool Use

N4 is employed in the 'practice' stage of learning, right when memory consolidation (another of its tasks) is taking place.

N4 processes enable both complex concrete tool use (such as manipulating a musical instrument when playing with an orchestra) and complex abstract tool use (such as manipulating mathematics to prove a theorem, musical notes to create a melody, words to construct a poem, or code to program a computer).

We already have the ability for simple tool use provided by rear nets; dexterity and skilled complex tool use are not just hand-eye coordination, but focused and synchronized interactive coordination that has duration through time. Playing a flute is simple behavior that relies on synchronization between our bodies and a tool (the flute) according to an imaginary rhythm of our choice. Playing the flute in an orchestra requires synchronization with others and the ability to keep track of a group procedure and the ground rules enabling an intrinsic order to emerge, so that all agents can function 'as a unit' in specific procedures.

These kinds of advanced abilities require mental (abstract) dexterity as well as physical (concrete) dexterity, which only N4 and its intimate relationship with time and timing (see below) can provide.

For another example, making and using a spear is simple behavior, organizing a successful group hunt is complex behavior; a procedure requiring synchronized interaction as a construct (the hunting party) and only N4 can pull off this sort of trick at the speeds required in real time.

This area modulates our dexterity skills (marked in blue). It contains parts of the premotor cortex and parts of the mirror system (and gets a little help from N3, marked in yellow.) This area also fires up in association with behavior-observation & modeling, allowing us to understand and model, embody and synchronize with the behavior of others.

Metaphoric Language & Music

Just as there are areas in N5 which mediate the expression and comprehension of the formal factual, sequential, grammatical-syntactial aspects of language, there are similar “mirrored” regions within N4 that mediate emotional/metaphorical speech and comprehension.[13] N4 provides the processes for understanding metaphoric language, and we would not be able to understand jokes, acting, stories, emotional utterances, music, poems, lying, animal sounds, proverbs, abstract song lyrics or swearwords -in fact most cultural communication- without it. Right hemisphere damage can obviously disrupt N4, affecting the ability to sing or carry a tune and can cause toneless, monotonous speech, as well as abolish the capacity to obtain pleasure while listening to music; a condition also referred to as amusia.[14]

Meaning or intent conveyed by emotion or music is communicated by varying the rate, amplitude, pitch, inflection, timbre, melody and stress contours of the voice or instrument, and these aspects of language as well as music are processed in N4. When devoid of intonational contours, language becomes monotone and bland and a listener experiences difficulty discerning attitude, context, intent, and feeling.

If Alice picks up the baseball bat and asks Bob if he'd like to come outside, how do we know whether Alice wants to play baseball or give Bob a whacking? Network 5 can tell us what her words literally mean, but only network 4 can tell us (and Bob) what the context is and what Alice's pitch, modulation and tone of voice imply, predicting correctly which behavior she intends to initiate -befriend or defend, and how to interact.

The evolutionary benefits of this are obvious. It is now well established (based on studies of normal and brain-damaged subjects) that the right hemisphere specializes in distinguishing, interpreting, and processing vocal inflectional nuances, including intensity, stress and melodic pitch contours, timbre, cadence, emotional tone, frequency, amplitude, melody, duration, and intonation. [15] The right hemisphere, therefore, is fully capable of determining and deducing not only what a persons feels about what they are saying, but why and in what context they are saying it --even in the absence of vocabulary and other denotative linguistic features, via the analysis of tone and melody. Even without the aid of the actual words, based merely on melody and tone the right cerebrum can determine context and the feelings of the speaker. [16] This may well explain why even preverbal infants are able to make these same determinations even when spoken to in a foreign language.[17]

N4 specializes in recognizing and interpreting unconscious meaning in sound. N5 recognizes and interprets conscious meaning in sound. When the two don't match up, we feel uneasy, just as we do at a fake smile, at known lies, or at fake pretense of interest -such things offend and disgust us. We process emotional words faster than other speech, because they are strong indicators of benefits or dangers. [18]

We'll be looking more closely at metaphoric language in tutorial 11.

Unconscious meaning in sound is also conveyed through music, poetry and stories, and these are N4's processing domain too. N4 specializes in the perception and comprehension of non-verbal, environmental and animal sounds, including the melody of music, and also expressing and mimicking environmental and animal sounds, including the sounds of music This provides the 'paste' half of “copy 'n' paste” in modeling.[19] For this reason, right frontal damage has been associated with a loss of emotional speech and emotional gesturing and a significantly reduced ability to mimic various nonlinguistic vocal patterns.[20]

Our musical nature is related to our original interactive relationship with nature and results from the tendency of humans to mimic sounds that arise from the environment --such as those which conveyed certain feeling states and emotions. This is why certain combinations of sounds, many employed in classical and movie music, can affect us emotionally and prompt visualization of scenes from nature (e.g., an early spring morning, a raging storm, a tropical jungle, the planet Mars). Music conveys a lot of unconscious information and is invested with emotional significance weighting.

For example, when played in a major key, music sounds happy or joyful. When played in a minor key, music is perceived as sad or grave. It has been know for a long time that music can interact with physiology to accelerate or decelerate pulse rate, [21] raise or lower blood pressure, and, thus, alter the rhythm of the heart's beat. Rhythm, of course, is a major component of music. Sound mimesis (music or songs copying natural sounds) is endemic in all prehistoric cultures and has survived in some forms of current shamanism. [22]

Music and vocal emotional nuances also share certain features, such as melody, intonation, etc., all of which are predominantly processed and mediated by the right cerebrum.

Based on an extensive analysis of the evolution of written language, and studies of current development, there is evidence to suggest an initial N3-N4 dominance during both evolutionary and real time development, particularly in that much of what was written was at first depicted in a pictorial fashion. The use of images preceded the use of signs (alphabets). [23]

Why did music continue to evolve? -Once humans had speech, why did we carry on singing? What does sound actually do to us to make us 'feel things'? When we express ourselves in sound, what sounds do we use to express what sort of emotions and what sort of events?

Only very recently, neuroscientists have begun to determine the underlying neural networks governing song perception and how they are distinct from the neural networks processing speech alone or music alone.[24] Convergent findings indicate that perception of songs with lyrics does not require a dedicated neural network but rather a blend of brain structures associated with musical sound and phonological processing; these include both left temporo-frontal regions, more involved in formal language processing, and right temporo-frontal regions, associated more with metaphoric language, sound and music processing. [25]

If sound affects us universally as a species, how come some prefer different music to others?Cells that fire together wire together, and when personal good times or bad times occur coincident with music, we make associations. Any sound that is associated with any event will remain associated with that event for that person. In these factors; the 'details', everyone is different because we all experience different sounds associated with different events, moods and behaviors, but the underlying basics remain the same -certain types and frequencies of sound have the same effect on all of us. Biology responds mechanically to certain sonics regardless of the 'style' of music. This will happen regardless of what personal associations are made.

Music has sometimes been characterized as a language of emotions.[26] Emotional recognition in music is a common and almost automatic process that occurs after the briefest presentation of a musical excerpt (500ms). [27] It is also observable in children as young as 3 years of age [28] as well as in listeners completely unfamiliar with the musical system in which those emotions are expressed.[29] The basis for such a powerful universal core response is rooted in the interaction between the responsive features of biochemistry and the acoustic features of music.

It has repeatedly been found that happy music is characterized by fast tempo and major mode, whereas sad music is typically played in slow tempo and minor mode. [30] In a recent study [31] 116 listeners rated 110 excerpts from film soundtracks from which 200 audio feature values were extracted. Pieces rated by listeners as happy were characterized by major mode and faster onsets, whereas sad and tender pieces were in minor mode and had longer onsets. Additionally, performers use specific features to convey emotions while playing: sad emotions are typically expressed by soft dynamics, legato articulation, and soft tempo, but happy, positive connotations of music are conveyed by staccato articulation and louder intensities.[32]

Music will evoke emotion in the healthy and sentiment in the unhealthy. In this factor we fall into two groups; those who habitually feel emotion and those who habitually feel sentiment. Behavioral and computational studies have shown that basic emotion/sentiment evocation or recognition in music is affected by the presence of lyrics. In studies, emotion recognition accuracy is improved by including lyrics information in algorithms for automatic classification of happy and sad musical emotions, however for angry or violent sentiments, the algorithm does not improve classification substantially. [33]

Here is another important bit of evidence for a model of intelligence that separates emotion from sentiment. You will recall from tutorial 9 that Darwin also failed to find any universality of recognition for sentiment and that recent studies have supported his findings.[34]

Lyrics in music add to the complexity of association because we respond individually to individual phonemes biologically. We have unifying archetypal responses to metaphoric language, but we also have different individual conscious formal word associations with those responses. In some people, conscious associations will be congruous with unconscious associations, in some they will not.

Using participants’ self-selected musical excerpts, researchers have studied behavioral and brain responses to elucidate how lyrics interact with musical emotion processing, as reflected by emotion recognition and activation of brain areas involved in affective experience.

Sad music induces activity within the right caudate head and the left thalamus. Interestingly, the left thalamus (along with a region in the visual cortex and the left insula) are also consistently active when processing sad faces.[35] This consistency hints at the cross-modal processing of basic emotions evoked by visual or auditory stimuli.[36]

In the right hemisphere, the caudate is activated during listening to highly pleasurable 'calm-inducing' musical pieces.[37] Instrumental music in general, and happy instrumental music in particular, further activates areas encompassing the right pars opercularis of the inferior frontal gyrus in the right cerebral hemisphere. This region is also consistently recruited for the processing of chord successions in Western tonal harmony.[38] Acoustic and perceptual analyses demonstrate that majority of the happy excerpts are in the major mode, likely containing more obvious tonal categories than the other minor mode excerpts. The right cerebral hemisphere is hence likely responsible for the processing of the clear harmonic passages especially present in happy instrumental music.

fMRI data converge with the behavioral data to suggest that emotions induced by happy music without lyrics and sad music with lyrics are experienced more deeply by us all.

Behavioral ratings revealed that happy music without lyrics induced stronger pleasant emotions than happy music with lyrics. These findings point to the role of acoustic cues for the experience of happiness in music, and to the importance of lyrics for sad musical emotions.

Because we can program ourselves to override some unconscious responses, our responses to music can to some extent be engineered. However, if they're not in sync with what biology's doing, they'll be incongruous.

All art that works conveys information beneficial to the species as well as the individual, because every true work of art is achieved via bonding between the artist and their media. The recipient should bond with the work of art, and in that moment the information conveyed becomes a part of themselves as much as it was ever a part of the artist. Anyone who's ever used compression formats knows that they either work, or they don't. There's no half measures; the information is either encoded correctly and decoded correctly or it isn't, and if it isn't, what you get back is pretty useless, if you get anything at all. Art is like this.[39]

Finally with regard to music; as with all else we must not forget that “we will become more like whatever we are surrounded by”. When musicians play along together it isn't just their instruments that are in time - their brain waves are too. Research shows how EEG readouts from pairs of guitarists become more synchronized, a great example of how our brains interact when we do.[40]

Our responses will begin to synchronize unconsciously with the responses of those around us, and we will respond to sound more like they do. And vice versa. But we ARE able to program our own tastes to whatever extent we like -input control with music is useful for tweaking incongruous associations into congruency and sentimental tendencies towards healthier emotion.


Mathematics, Geometry, symbols

The ancients (Babylonians and Hindus), translated music into number and geometric proportions.[41] For example, by dividing a vibrating string into various ratios they discovered that several very pleasing musical intervals could be produced. Hence, the ratio 1:2 was found to yield an octave, 2:3 a fifth, and 3:4 a fourth, 4:5 a major third, and 5:6 a minor third.[42] The harmonic system utilized in the nineteenth century by various composers was based on these same ratios.


These same musical ratios, the Pythagorians discovered, also were found to have the capability of reproducing themselves. That is, the ratio can reproduce itself within itself and form a unique geometrical configuration which Pythagoras and the ancient Greeks referred as the the "golden ratio" or "golden rectangle." This brings us right back to our sense of aesthetics again -to N4's recognition and reproduction of those factors, formulae and things that are pleasing to human comprehension because they are beneficial to our wellbeing. Those same measured ratios most appealing to our senses occur in both music and pictures. There is a mathematical pattern in our measure of aesthetics that our sense of aesthetics both recognizes and aspires to recreate.

The mathematically 'gifted' exhibit two very important features that differ from the mathematically average: (1) enhanced development of the right cerebral hemisphere, and (2) a special form of brain bilateralism. A variety of experimental methods have been used to demonstrate that enhanced development of the right hemisphere and an unusual reliance upon it when processing information are unique characteristics of the math-gifted brain.

For average-math-ability people, activations are found in the right frontal region and the right parietal lobe; with only slight evidence of any left hemisphere activation. For the gifted, however, the amount of brain activation obtained is several times greater than that of average-math-ability folks, plus the overall pattern of activity is distributed quite differently.

It seems that what is going on here in the 'gifted' is a merging of computation and calculating skills (N5) with N4's spacetime-manipulation abilities. This is substantiated by the fact that the corpus callosum is also notably thicker in math geeks, enabling faster communication between the two hemispheres.[43]

Unconscious information conveyed by shape, color, tone, symbol or number isn't just about aesthetics or mathematics of course; it can also code in territorial or mapping information, alarm calls and warning of predators, mate-attracting signals, indications of direction and location, young-to-parent signaling and vice versa.

The important thing to grasp is that in all its varied functions N4 excels in categorizing and ordering patterns of similar things into constructs of all kinds that convey unconscious information for interaction. Intelligence grows by moving from the concrete to the abstract and back again, via interaction.

Research clearly shows that front networks develop their maths skills by once again abstracting processes from rear-net concrete contexts that preceded them, because our uniquely human branches of mathematics interface with an evolutionarily primitive general magnitude system. From as young as six months we (and some other animals) can roughly distinguish between less and more without any tuition; whether it's for a number of objects, the size of objects, or the length of time we see the objects. This intuitive, non-verbal sense of magnitude is innate unconscious awareness courtesy of several billion years of practice, in spatial processing regions of N2. The importance of this awareness for survival is obvious.

Differences of ability in both advanced abstract arithmetic and geometry skills requiring frontal networks specifically correlates with differences in this intuitive sense of concrete magnitude in rear nets. The more precise our unconscious ability to estimate the magnitude of a number, the better we score in advanced arithmetic. The same correlation is found between precision at gauging magnitude of area and the geometry portion of a standardized math test.[44]

It may not seem that skills in mathematics or geometry have much to do with interaction, emotion or successful human relationships, (although interestingly, lack of awareness of them -and of the 'big picture' is causing many of our current dilemmas with regard to population size, social inequality and land-availability.) But the same skills we use in theorizing about the origins of the universe can be adequately put to use in the design and maintenance of constructs such as nests, homes, communities and villages, and mathematics & geometry underlie some important decisions in interaction and relationships through our senses of perspective and aesthetics (see below)


Focus, Tenacity & Staying Power

It's easy to see how these abilities assist interaction. N4's ability to focus attention can help us in the consolidation of memory, in learning and by maintaining our interest and determination to see a task through over a longer period of time. The advantages of this for interaction in childcare, learning, skill-sharing, courting behavior, emotional stability and relationships, as well as creativity, are obvious. Patience, practice and determination are essential for competence in every context, including human relationships.

Focus is sometimes called 'spatial selective attention', and is widely considered to be right hemisphere dominant. Right-lateralized activity has been observed in ventral frontoparietal regions for shifts of attention to a previously unattended target stimulus [45] and fMRI studies have measured hemispheric asymmetries during shifts of spatial attention both evoked by a peripheral cue stimulus and during target detection at the cued location.

Stimulus-driven shifts of spatial attention in both visual fields (which are evoked by unattended but behaviorally important stimuli), activate a ventral network comprising right temporoparietal junction (TPJ) and right ventral frontal cortex.[46] Target detection at the attended location produces a more widespread right hemisphere dominance in frontal, parietal, and temporal cortex, including the TPJ region asymmetrically activated during shifts of spatial attention.[47]

Focused attention. Right hemispheric dominant activations evoked by detection of targets. The graphs show the time course of activation to cues for right hemisphere voxels (unflipped) and the corresponding left hemisphere voxels (flipped), broken down by target visual field.

Sup = Superior; med = medial; pos = posterior; cing = cingulate; Hem = hemisphere.


Focus can help us in the concrete sense by allowing us volitional control over attention and the intensity of our attention. It enabled us to focus carefully on the prey when aiming an arrow, to focus on a gap we had to jump across, to listen for specific sounds in a noisy jungle background, for example. But it also enables abstract focus -we can keep our minds on the subject, we can stick with a problem and examine its details, we can concentrate on one thing amidst a turmoil of chaos, and whilst this ability didn't evolve in order that we could perform air traffic control, understand a dynamic network, or work in the flight room at NASA, it comes in very handy for such tasks.

Most importantly it enables 'staying power' or tenacity; the ability to stick with a problem or a situation until it's resolved, instead of giving up halfway through. If we have a stack of unfinished things, we probably need to upgrade N4.

It appears that focus works together with observation and orientation to maintain interest and motivation over longer periods of time, enabling us to 'stick at it' and keep on interacting despite mistakes and obstacles. Relationships that don't include these skills tend to be very short.


The senses associated with any rear network are always its hardware tools for comprehension of input, and its processes are software tools for enabling physical interaction. Front networks, however, are able to abstract both tools and processes, enabling abstract conceptualization using exactly the same processes. We explore each 'abstract' sense and its relation to its concrete predecessor in more detail below.



For example, our senses of distance and direction, provided by network 2, give us our awareness of concrete physical perspective and distance-related size; we can tell easily that a closer object is not really bigger than a more distant object; it is our relative perspective that creates the illusion of things getting smaller as they move away.

We understand perspective in input once N2 is fully developed, but we can't draw 3D representations of perspective until N4 is up and running sufficiently to grasp the process or formula to reproduce perspective (between the ages of 7 and 11). With right cerebral injuries, visual-spatial perceptual functioning becomes distorted (although motor activities per se are preserved) and the person may not realize they have made an error.[48]

Once N4 IS up and running, the concept of perspective can be abstracted. We can 'get a perspective' on situations, other people's states of mind, a relationship, or a series of events. It's the impression of awareness of the 'big picture' -of how everything fits together in your associations. The words 'from my perspective' or 'from my point of view', come to mean not just the concrete “what I can see in the environment from where I'm standing” but are now abstracted to mean, 'how I see this event/situation in context of the big picture'; not with my eyes but from my inner point of view.

For example, we say someone should 'get a sense of perspective' when they are overly dramatic or hysterical about a trivial event, and we mean something like 'try to see things in the bigger context of life, events and circumstances'. For example, yelling and screaming is appropriate behavior in the context of having our legs bitten off; it is not appropriate behavior in the context of someone spilling a drink on our shirt. A sense of perspective enables us to respond appropriately and interact with events instead of resorting to action or reaction.



N4 has abstracted the material sensory concepts -sight and perspective- and enabled them to describe events in the reality of thoughts and ideas as well as in the reality of material life.

Abstraction is a major process from rear to front networks. For example our concrete sensory awareness of pain and pleasure in N1 becomes intimately associated with our emotional weighting of likes and dislikes in N3, which in turn, if they are congruous, lead in the maturity of N4 to our sense of aesthetics -(the recognition of/ ability to recreate those shapes, colors, sounds, combinations and movements that are naturally pleasing to biology because they're beneficial to it).

Again we abstract a material sensory concept, in this case taste, and metaphorize (make a metaphor of) it to describe our sense of aesthetics; 'having good taste' means that we have the ability to recognize or reproduce those measurable combinations that communicate pleasure to healthy biology, and we refer to harmony as 'sweet' and a rip-roaring guitar riff as 'tasty'. Note we use the same words for those we find sexually attractive).

The word 'aesthetics' means our sensitivity to and ability to perceive and feel those combinations.

Symmetry, the Golden Section and Fibonacci series, along with the 'rule of thirds' [49] are perhaps the most well known and tested, as giving forms with strong appeal to human biology. Experiencing them triggers the release of beneficial transmitters. (Perhaps the least well known is the reputed 'brown noise' that makes humans lose control of their bowels, because nobody wants to do the experiment to prove that one).

Aesthetics are personal in the details due to personal association (I might prefer a picture of a boat, you might prefer a picture of a windmill) but their basics remain the same because they are based in the geometry of form and how it affects biology. I may like guitar music and you may like keyboards, but neither of us would listen to a fire alarm for entertainment. One person is sexually attracted to men and another to women, but none of us should get a double polaroid when viewing an electrical appliance catalog.[50]


A bias for symmetry

We have an innate overall cognitive bias for symmetry; associating disgust and alarm with asymmetry and cacophony, and research shows that this is reflected in our neural responses to symmetrical/asymmetrical stimuli.[51] Symmetry of form is biology's signal for healthy life, and the unconscious looks on asymmetry as disfigurement.[52]

In personal interaction, we tend to feel naturally more amiable towards the good-looking individuals with symmetrical features, Golden Ratio proportions, and good skin, and more wary of the asymmetrical disproportionate and spotty. It's easiest to 'read' the body language and facial expressions against a symmetrical background and Golden Ratio proportions because these are our calibrated 'ideals' hard wired into unconscious awareness; this is our 'comparison table' for ease of interaction.

For the same reason, we interact most easily with those who have a critical number of points of similarity in geometric facial form/appearance in common with our own. It's much easier to read facial expression on a face that looks like ours, and biology is always aware of energy costs versus benefits. If someone looks a lot unlike us, they have to be sufficiently interesting for us to decide it's worth spending more energy 'translating' their faces in order to interact. The same is true with words, languages and accents. How many close friends do you have who don't speak your language intelligibly?

Asymmetry is not the only thing about appearance that creeps us out. In physical appearance, we favor an optimal mixture of familiarity (same) with a touch of unknown (different) features.

This would undoubtedly affect our 'first contact' with any alien or non-biological intelligence. An agent must have enough points of similarity with the 'known' to be judged as safe to interact with rather than as a threat. The parameters of this 'safe vs dangerous' have been measured and (because they are basics) they are the same for all of us.


Welcome to the Uncanny Valley.

The term "uncanny valley" refers to an artificial agent's drop in likeability when it becomes too humanlike. People respond positively to an agent that shares some characteristics with humans –dolls, sci fi aliens, cartoon animals, C3PO and R2D2. As the agent becomes more human-like, it becomes more likeable. But at some point that upward trajectory stops and instead the agent is suddenly perceived as strange and disconcerting. Many viewers, for example, find Pixar's baby to be 'creepy'.

Now researchers have taken a peek inside the brains of people viewing videos of an 'uncanny' android (compared to videos of a human and a robot-looking robot). The fMRI study suggests that what is going on is due to a perceptual mismatch between appearance and motion.[53]

Uncanny valley occupants may be just too reminiscent of dead people, and are activating a cognitive mechanism that originally evolved to motivate the avoidance of potential sources of pathogens by eliciting that disgust response. It even shows up in the interests of infants.[54]

N4 creates other aesthetic biases too. We unconsciously judge the left hand side of human faces (the side the right hemisphere controls) the most 'attractive' side. It is judged as 'the most emotionally expressive side', and our pupils dilate more when we view this side.[55] N4 sees its counterpart facial side as 'same' and N5's counterpart as 'different', because unconsciously we know that N4 deals with similarities and N5 deals with differences. And N4 always pays more attention to similarities; to things that 'match up better'.

We have yet another unconscious bias related to symmetry, called the "Centre Stage effect" - our preferential bias for more attention towards items located in the middle of displays.[56] There's even evidence that symmetrical exercises enhance learning speed.[57]

We extend our abstraction of aesthetic 'taste' to behavior and the aesthetics of behavior such as politeness, diplomacy and respect; if someone makes a gaffe we say 'it was in bad taste' or 'I found that remark distasteful'. Our sense of aesthetic harmony extends beyond concrete appearances and emerges as a sense of an innate order and 'rightness' in the world. It's a part of how things make sense.



We also extend our abstraction of the concept 'taste' to aesthetics in humor (for example, 'That joke was in bad taste') because we apply aesthetics abstractly to forms of behavior as well as to concrete forms. “It's not my taste in humor' simply means 'it doesn't make me laugh' (and only under the influence of sentiment does that translate as 'therefore it's bad for everybody'). The healthy unconscious knows that all of our tastes will be different according to individual needs; that's what variation and diversity of details is all about.

What is funny anyway? What makes the mind so amused that we burst spontaneously into giggles or guffaws in response to certain forms of input? Research suggests that in humor there is usually some kind of incongruity between two elements which can be resolved in a playful or unexpected way, often using metaphoric innuendo, stereotypes or archetypes.[58] It's easy to see the interactional benefits of a sense of humor.

When we are being humorous with someone, they know that we intend friendship. Swapping jokes is an excellent test of others' ontology -if a stranger doesn't 'get' our jokes it's likely there are large differences between us and that means more difficulty interacting and becoming allies. If our jokes offend them, we will almost certainly not become allies so should not waste energy trying to do so. This knowledge can save an enormous amount of time and effort trying to interact with someone who doesn't understand us at all or who has a very different ontology. In this case, humor is a shortcut to awareness it otherwise takes a long time to figure out.

Humor is proof of our ability to use metaphoric language; a way of showing our status (biological status is rated by personal power; our ability to interact) and assessing that of others. -Do they share the same metaphoric code as we do? This too is important for judging cost/benefit ratios for interaction or avoidance. If they don't understand our humor, they may well misunderstand us in other, more dangerous ways. We can also show our own awareness and abilities through humor. We smile at baby animals trying to get the hang of 'that gravity thing' and it shows all onlookers that we are capable of empathy. We smile when an innocent tourist asks a Rabbi to direct him to the pork butchers, and it shows we are beyond such mistakes ourselves and also that we're aware of such ideological dilemmas.

Humor is a befriending and bonding tool. A mate or a friend who can make us laugh is going to be a good ally in tougher times. Lack of humor altogether reveals dysfunction; one of the first effects of depression or pomposity in a person is a loss of humor, and these are definitely not good persons to make allies with as it reveals they have slipped outside the green zone. Humor is also an anxiolytic. It can move us from stress to relaxation faster than almost anything else, and it can focus our abilities and sharpen our intellects by this means. Humor is essential in play, learning and teaching, and creativity. A light-hearted approach to the world is essentially the creative space for invention. It is vital in communication, enables sharing of behavior we find pleasing and that is beneficial, it is a tool for interaction, for cultural and diplomatic success, and it induces the relaxation response.

Most importantly, humor has a powerful effect on cortisol reduction and hence physical and mental immunity. Studies have shown that laughing at a funny film causes a drop in the blood’s concentration of cortisol and an increase of the activity of immune cells. There's a dude who's famous for curing inflammatory arthritis by laughing at his favorite cartoons.[59] It also appears that laughter may dampen inappropriate immune responses and relieve conditions such as asthma and eczema, and can even relieve eczema in infants by making breastfeeding mothers laugh.[60]

Studies show that levity or cheerfulness, the emotional state that makes people respond more readily to laugh lines, is linked to emotional stability and resilience—the ability to keep a level head in difficult circumstances, to adapt in stressful conditions and avoid anxiety, and to maintain successful close relationships through bad times and good. In interaction, we seek out the company of those who make us laugh, and we can encourage bonding through making other laugh. Science also indicates that a sense of humor is sexy; we are more attracted to people who have a good one.

Our aesthetic and related senses are useful for input control and obviously vital tools for creativity. Our sense of aesthetics drives us to create beauty and harmony in surroundings that are pleasing to our senses, and when congruous our personal likes conform to those beneficial combinations. We abstract the same process to make decisions about ourselves, others, humor, behavior, interaction and personal relationships.

Our aesthetic sense also prevents us from staying in surroundings or around persons that are harmful to us. If everything around us looks dead, decaying, broken or dirty, if companions are careless, apathetic, anxious and pessimistic, disease and depression are sure to follow. We are attracted to symmetry of form and harmony of sound because they signal benefits to our species, N4 looks for things with similarities, reproductions, repetitions, complementarity, polarity, and symmetry (repetition of form) to the unconscious is just rhythm (repetition of event) frozen in time.



Most processes going on in the body and brain are reliant on time and timing. But there is no "central clock" in the brain that is relied upon for all tasks involving timing.

Researchers have found one small population of neurons that is involved in measuring time; the lateral intraparietal area (LIP), and this area is also responsible for eye movement.[61] But it takes all rear networks together with N4 to give us both a conscious awareness of passing time in everyday life and an historical perspective on the 'arrow of time' that enables the retrieval of memories in chronological order.

N3 and the hippocampus in particular are critical to remembering the flow of events in distinct experiences and, in making memories, bridge temporal gaps between discontiguous events. There is strong hippocampal representation of sequence memories, highlighted by “time cells” that encode successive moments during an empty temporal gap between the key events, while also encoding location and ongoing behavior.[62] Most time cells form qualitatively different representations (“retime”) when the main temporal pace of events is altered, capturing 'important bits' in higher resolution by firing repetitively and cramming more 'bits' into the same amount of time. Hippocampal neurons also differentially encode the key events and disambiguate different event sequences to compose unique, temporally organized representations of specific experiences.

These findings suggest that hippocampal neural ensembles map temporally organized memories onto the inner model much the same as they represent locations of important landmarks or events in spatially defined environments. (The hippo also appears to use the same spatial model to encode pitch variation).[63]

In real time experience however, we know that the continuity of our perception is an illusion.

Perception is a sequence of 'on' and 'off' binary bits. We collect information through discrete frequent tiny snapshots. The ones we consider interesting enough to keep and recognizable enough to categorize, we keep as memories.[64] Nor is our perception of time constant, but varies according to circumstances. For example, time is perceived to slow down during the period of preparation for physical interaction, as the result of an increased intake of visual information.[65]

Recent experimentation provided the first evidence that our perception of time is not an exact representation of what is occurring in the moment we consider to be the present. Now we know that imagination not only reproduces the effect of time in our perception but also edits it.

For example, when we turn on a light switch, the light does not come on immediately but a fraction of a second later. Our brain edits out the gap, just as it edits out the gap between 'frames' in visual perception. If the light suddenly really did come on at the speed of light, it would appear to us as though it came on before we pressed the switch.[64]

Lots of things affect time perception. When we are paying attention, and most especially when we are focusing our attention, the brain processes more bits of information per second. It’s a survival tactic. We need to assemble, remember and process much more information about the creature that is attacking us -or the person who is kissing us- than we do about the trees along the side of the path during a routine walk.

Prediction also cuts down our perception time -and we can see this in action with the 'suddenly look at your stopwatch' hack (the first few seconds seem slower then the rest, because the brain isn't predicting motion). Color affects time perception too. Blue light makes time pass more quickly and red seems to slow it down. Red makes us highly aware of our environment and so time slows down in your mind.[66]

Emotional weighting strongly distorts time. Scary experiences, for example, seem to last much longer than they actually do. Yet highly pleasant experiences, while still distorting time, seem to pass more quickly than unpleasant ones. This is relevant because the unconscious 'expects' healthy intelligent individuals to have very few nasty experiences but a lot of pleasant ones. That unexpected encounter with the angry predator may be its only chance to capture information about it -so it goes into information-processing overdrive and the more bits are processed per second, the more time seems to slow right down. On the other hand the unconscious 'expects' that we'll have plenty of opportunities to have a good time, so there is not so much time distortion via frantic assimilation of information necessary.

Conscious awareness of control reduces this influence of emotions on time perception, and this works even if one's sense of control is an illusion.[67]



"Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be too late!"

(The White Rabbit; Alice in Wonderland; Lewis Carroll)

Timing is important for or related to all N4 abilities. In perception, N4 specializes in duration discrimination of short (<.5 s) versus long tones (>.5 s). Synthetic aperture magnetometry indicates automatic primarily sensorimotor responses in short tones, with activation specific to timing in bilateral inferior frontal gyrus. In long tones, a right lateralized network is active, including lateral prefrontal cortices, inferior frontal gyrus, supramarginal gyrus and secondary auditory areas. Activation in this network peaks just after attention to tone duration is no longer necessary, suggesting a role in sustaining representation of the interval.[68]

In cooperation and synthesis, the sense of rhythm we developed in N2 incorporates the awareness of synchronization with others, and this also occurs in both a concrete behavioral sense (the sort of physical awareness that enables us to move together -for example to play in a band, dance in time with others, make love or be part of a rowing team) and an abstract sense (the sort of mental awareness that enables us to think together -for example writing songs with others, working out theories together, and making strategies in groups.

Culturally, our sense of behavioral synchrony (of being synchronized with or 'out of step') with others is a vital part of interaction and propriety. An embodied understanding of the patterns of time is essential for complex cultural behaviors.

Physiologically, biology and time are interactively linked on several levels; the two most obvious that we can measure are brainwaves and circadian rhythms.



Brainwaves are formally called 'neural oscillations' in neuroscience. They occur throughout the brain but different frequencies tend to emerge in different areas. They are a feature of processing type, so can give some indication of what the brain is doing. Prior to MRI, they were our main way of looking 'into' the brain.

Mainstream studies still quibble over cause and effect between brainwave patterns and neurotransmitters. Does transmitter release induce brainwave patterns, or is transmitter release induced by brainwaves? The concentration levels of certain transmitters are known to regulate the amount of oscillatory activity, but we also see measurable changes in neurotransmission in response to artificially induced brainwave types (for example with example-input neurofeedback).

This is of course is only 'contradictory' data if we're looking for answers in the old paradigm 'either-or' style, and it is no longer a puzzle if we look at it from the new paradigm -both are true. It is likely that neurotransmitters can both induce brainwave patterns and be released because of them, and that the dynamic interaction between the two causes changes in both.

Brainwaves can be categorized by their amplitude, frequency and phase. Here's a crash course for those not familiar with EEG:


Name & frequency


Related neurotransmitters


Frontal (adulthood)

Rear (child)

Melatonin, DHEA, serotonin (default), dopamine (when fluctuating with theta)


Hippo & areas not currently busy

Serotonin, endorphins, vasopressin, acetylcholine, DHEA, melatonin, oxytocin

MU 9-11Hz bursts

Laterally across center

Serotonin, endorphins, DHEA, acetylcholine

ALPHA 8-12Hz

Posterior lateral

Serotonin, endorphins, DHEA, melatonin, acetylcholine

BETA 12-30Hz

Anterior lateral

Norepinephrine, serotonin, cortisol

GAMMA 30-70Hz

Laterally across center front



DELTA brainwaves are considered the most relaxing brainwave frequency range. Delta brainwaves are commonly associated with the deepest 'slow wave' sleep (stages 3 & 4).

They have the highest amplitude and the slowest waves.


THETA waves decrease the BP. Theta rhythm engages in drowsiness or arousal, and is also associated with inhibition of responses (when we are actively trying to repress a response or behavior).[69] Theta can be seen sometimes in meditation and relaxation.

Theta activity can be recorded from specific regions of the cortex. Comparison of micro-EEG signals and intracellular recordings (whole cell) reveal that low frequency theta waves (~ 8 Hz) are generated by synchronous synaptic potentials and discharge activity of cortical neurons. The discharge of each neuron appears to contribute ~ 1.0 µV to the micro-EEG signal, so 'critical mass' theta activity requires synchronous activity in ~ 100 neurons in each cortical location.

Theta activity is known to be important for spatial mapping and may provide a 'binding' mechanism that contributes to the formation of memory in general.

When selective populations of neurons are synchronously active they can interact in a Hebbian manner to change the strength of synaptic inputs that are timed at the theta frequency.

Theta activity is also known to be particularly sensitive to anesthetic agents at concentrations which block spatial memory formation.[70]


MU waves, also known as the 'comb' or 'wicket' or 'sensorimotor rhythm' (SMR), are an alpha-wave-like variant. They appear in bursts of at 9 - 11 Hz. Mu wave patterns arise from synchronous and coherent (in phase/constructive) electrical activity of large groups of neurons in the human brain.

Mu wave activity reflects the synchronous firing of motor neurons in rest state. It also appears to be inversely associated with the mirror neuron system, and may constitute a control signal as Mu activity is diminished with movement or an intent to move, or when others are observed performing movements.


ALPHA brain waves decrease BP. They are also associated with inhibition control, seemingly with the purpose of timing inhibitory activity in different locations across the brain.

If we have a dominant hemisphere, it will show up in alpha distribution, which tends to be higher in amplitude on the dominant side. It is regularly seen in meditation and normally emerges with closing of the eyes and with relaxation, and decreases with eye opening or mental exertion, but it also emerges when we are using N4 skills, such as being deeply creatively engaged, in what we call “the zone”.


BETA waves kick in when we engage in motor behavior and is generally attenuated during active movements.[71] Beta waves increase BP. Low amplitude beta with multiple and varying frequencies is associated with active, busy or anxious thinking and also physical tension (which is why relaxing can reduce beta and lower BP). Higher amplitude beta emerges when we are using N5 skills. Lower amplitude Beta is the default rhythm for most adults in western societies most of the time.


GAMMA waves have the smallest amplitude of all brainwaves. They appear during cross-modal sensory processing (perception that combines two different senses, such as sound and sight) [72] and also during short term memory matching of recognized objects, sounds, or tactile sensations.

Gamma rhythms are thought to represent binding of different populations of neurons together into a network for the purpose of carrying out a certain cognitive or motor function.[73]


Brainwaves are patterns that have duration in time. Research on this type of pattern formation can be traced back to Alan Turing.[74] Structures built from a very large number of units can exhibit sharp transitions from one state to another state, which physicists call phase transitions. When a network or the brain undergoes a phase transition, it moves from random to patterned activity; from firing digital spikes to pulsing analog waves, from individual bits to whole packets of information.

These include the delta waves generated during sleep, the alpha waves of the visual brain, and the gamma waves, discovered only during the last decade, which are related to information processing. Research suggests that brain cells need to follow these specific rhythms for proper brain functioning, and has demonstrated that precisely tuning the oscillation frequencies of certain neurons can affect how the brain processes information and implement feelings of desire, calm, and pleasure. Exciting or inhibiting them can also produce or suppress "gamma" waves and cause a marked change in the "bit rate" or quantity of information flowing through brain circuits, just as the brain does in sleep.[75]

The EEG can also be used to define sleep stages. Stage I sleep (equivalent to 'drowsiness' in some systems) appears on the EEG as drop-out of the posterior basic rhythm. There can be an increase in theta frequencies. Stage II sleep is characterized by sleep spindles—transient runs of rhythmic activity in the 12–14Hz range (sometimes referred to as the "sigma" band) that have a frontal-central maximum. Most of the activity in Stage II is in the 3–6Hz range. Stage III and IV sleep are defined by the presence of delta frequencies and are often referred to collectively as "slow-wave sleep." Stages I-IV comprise non-REM (or "NREM") sleep. The EEG in REM (rapid eye movement) sleep appears somewhat similar to the awake EEG.


Circadian rhythms

We are also temporally synchronized with the system we inhabit. Circadian rhythms synchronize our behavior to seasonal and local changes in our environment. We most notice this in 'jet lag', because only when the program crashes does it come to our conscious attention. Most of the time we don't know it's there because it works so well.

The pineal gland is a known player in circadian rhythm synchronization. Almost exactly in the center of the human brain, it helps regulate the body's responses to day and night cycles.

New data tells us that major genome changes take place in response to the pineal gland too. Some expanses of DNA contain the information that generates biologically active molecules, and the levels of these molecules rises and falls, in synchrony with cycles of light and darkness. In the evenings and at night, it increases production of melatonin, a hormone that synchronizes the body's rhythms with the cycle of light and dark. In many species, the pineal gland also plays a role in seasonally associated behaviors, such as hibernation, mating, and sexual maturation.

The DNA involved is part of what used to be called (rather arrogantly) 'junk DNA', and is these days called 'dark DNA' in more humble acknowledgment of the fact that neuroscientists now admit it does something but they are not at all sure what.[76]

Researchers have also answered two another significant questions—the first one was, what's the mechanism behind the systems self-regulation? The answer is gene switching -the gene KDM5A encodes for a protein that serves as an activation switch in the biochemical circuit that maintains our circadian rhythm.[77] The second question was how biological clocks drive the activity of clock neurons, which, in turn, regulate behavioral rhythms. Once more we find genetic switches going on and off in a nest of feedback loops, keeping everything in sync.[78]

These discoveries fill in missing links in understanding the molecular mechanisms that control our daily wake-sleep cycle. The central player of our biological clock is a protein called PERIOD (PER). The number of PER proteins in each of our cells rises and falls every 24 hours. Our cells use the level of PER protein as an indicator of the time of the day and tell our body when to sleep or be awake. It's a density thing.

Neuroscientists knew that two genes, CLOCK and BMAL1, served as the key drivers for raising PER protein levels. As the level of PER protein rises during the daytime, reaching its peak around evening, it puts a break on CLOCK and BMAL, thereby reducing its own level during the nighttime. Falling PER protein levels at night causes our biological systems to slow: our blood pressure drops, our heart rate slows and our mental processes wind down.



Find where your own peak times naturally lie by replacing the 'average time sleep begins' with your own average falling-asleep time, and moving all the peak times ahead by the same amount.

If you think that the idea of being a morning person or an evening person is nonsense, neuroscience has already proven you wrong. Each individual has unique circadian timing, with “body time” being offset by as much as 6 hours between people.[79] And every individuals metabolism regulates their body time [80]

It's useful to know our own body rhythms, because among other things it will determine our response to drugs and medications and the efficacy of our immune systems (your immune system will be at peak function during your most active time of day.[81]

A good page to keep in your Captain's Log!


Interaction, behavior and unconscious programs

Subroutines of emergence in biology: Embodiment, Sync & Bonding

Intelligence uses interaction for achieving most things, including its own ongoing development. Interaction both enables and employs other processes such as modeling, embodiment, sync and bonding. These enable further different types of interaction, but are also stand-alone programs in their own right with their own dedicated networks and are used as modular subroutines in more complex processes involving networks of networks, such as learning and remembering. None of these processes can occur without sufficient interaction.


We all have in real life what 'The Matrix' movie called a 'Residual self-image'. In biopsychology it's called a body schema; it is N3's imaginary virtual model of 'us' in its imaginary virtual model of realspace. Our kinesthetic, proprioceptive senses provide the feedback for N3 to maintain it, and whenever we move, just like in a computer game in response to controlling feedback from sensors (senses), the image on the 'monitor screen' gets updated in real time.[82] Embodiment is a subroutine of emergence in various types of procedure including learning, remembering, empathizing and predicting, and can function as a catalyst for sync and physical bonding. In martial arts classes, students are often taught to treat weapons as extensions of their own body. But this is more than just a metaphor. It turns out that when we use tools – not just swords and spears, but toothbrushes and rakes as well – our brain treats them as temporary body parts.

When we interact for a certain amount of time with an object, tool, construct, person or process, our mind begins to 'see' it as a part of our own body in N3's model, gets it into perspective with the rest, and represents it not just abstractly in the inner model but in terms of literal neuronal connections in the brain for kinesthetic/proprioceptive feedback. This process is called 'embodiment'. An adult includes a carried infant in their body schema and embodies his or her own schema. Lovers, close friends and bonded people merge their body schemas and embody each other when physically close. We also 'embody' knowledge with this same process in learning when we translate new abstract concept associations into the physical neural connections of long term memory. To embody something is to build a physical representation of it in our brains and also to import it into N3's inner model.

N3 uses graphic imagery to depict analogy; similarity between like features of two things on which association can be based: for example an analogy can be made between the heart and a pump, so an abstract association is made and a concrete neural connection is made linking the two concepts. Likewise N3 can draw an analogy between an atom and the solar system. Connecting concept associations in the mind all have their analogies in physically communicating neurons.[82] N3 categorization is a mechanism that represents data by measurement of a continuous physical variable; the density gradient of emotional weighting (chemical tags) on mirror-neuron imagery triggered by input. Analog representation is the simplest form of abstraction, still requiring concrete representation.

Embodiment is simple sensorimotor adaptation; in which feedback information from interaction with other agents is represented in brain cells modulating network connections. It is one way in which we adapt ourselves to better suit our context's needs (and creativity is one way we adapt our context to better suit our own needs.)

Embodiment uses 'multisensory' neurons in rear nets that respond to tactile stimuli and also to visual stimuli. A multisensory neuron has a tactile receptive field (associated responsive region on the body surface) typically on the face, arms, or hands. The same neuron also responds to visual stimuli in the space near the tactile receptive field, which is how we determine the boundaries of our external body schema. For example, if a neuron’s tactile receptive field covers the arm, the same neuron will respond to visual stimuli in the space near the arm or associated with the arm. The visual receptive field updates with arm movement, translating through space as the arm moves.[82] These neurons apparently monitor the location of body parts and the location of nearby objects with respect to body parts, and is also important for the ability to incorporate external objects into the body schema, such as in tool use.

In humans, body schema plays an important role in both simple and complex tool use.[83] Our body schema updates to include tools, such as those used for reaching, pushing, pulling or moving, into the body schema. Sensory stimuli are delivered the same way be it to the hands directly or indirectly via feedback from the tools. These studies suggest the mind incorporates the tools as seen in N3's model into the same or similar areas as it does the adjacent hands and the brain is getting feedback from the tools as well as the hands.[83]

Apparent expansion of the representation of peripersonal space around the hand following tool-use. (A,B) = Effect of tool-use on neural representation (dotted ellipse), which expands from before training (A) to after training (B)

Recent research into the short term plasticity of the body schema shows that tools can be incorporated into the body schema within seconds, regardless of length of training, though these results do not extend to any other species besides humans.[83] We can also embody constructs; living animals, machines, and complex abstract systems, but with an added dimension to embodiment -complex systems like constructs communicate much more feedback than simple tools. A racing driver and her car, a racing jockey and his steed, a hot programmer and a powerful system, a gaming expert and their tools, a musician and their instrument; can with practice function as a single unit which proves to be much more than the sum of its parts and contributes psychologically to our entering what we call “the zone” in creative or inspiring endeavors.

We can embody music or mathematics -in which case our body responds to the sounds or symbols as if they were feedback coming from our own mind rather than 'out there'. This enables much tighter synchronization, more accurate prediction, faster calculation and time-keeping and strong intuition (conscious awareness of unconscious knowledge). In this state if we are playing music, lecturing or working out a theorem it can feel as though the information is flowing 'through us', as if we are an 'instrument' and intelligence is 'playing us' while the mind oversees all, poised in spacetime. We are just watching and listening to it happen and yet 'being it', and some call it 'being in the flow'.

This sort of experience can get us very high on oxytocin, acetylcholine and endorphins -a nice mix that leads to some 'spiritual' or numinous experiences, great breakthroughs in maths & science, and some wonderful concerts. And finally of course, we can embody each other. When there is a certain critical mass of physical, sensorimotor interaction with each other, especially if modeling or synchronized behaviors are involved, embodiment occurs. Between humans, embodiment enables sensorimotor empathy and catalyzes physical bonding, which means not that we share a body schema but that we can incorporate each other into our own body schema and interact as a unit. Juggling or acrobatics in teams requires this ability, as does dancing in pairs or larger groups, and sexual interaction is very much augmented by it.



Definitions: Sync is NOT short for synchronicity! Synchronization means getting into step; coordinating the timing of events with other events over a duration of time.

Synchrony means being in step for a duration of time. A good concrete example is playing music, another is dancing. While we interact in playing music or dancing, our beats, movements or steps become synchronized with each other and with the music. The individual behavior from individual musicians or dancers become complementary and coordinated; they all happen in the right order at the right time, and their diversity merges into a unity that always displays properties the individuals cannot achieve alone; i.e., emergent properties. The behavior of flocks of birds, fireflies and fish shoals are other good examples of sync.

Sync is the tendency towards the emergence of order in physics, chemistry and biology that complements the tendency towards entropy that we all know so well. It's a process that occurs on all scales throughout reality from the subatomic to the cosmological. Some obvious examples of synchronized behavior are flocks of birds, fish baitballs, crystals forming, cells beating as a heart, photons in laser light, fireflies signaling in unison, the behavior of crowds, animal migration, and of course brainwaves.[84]

Sync is achieved by a lot of individual units (like molecules, neurons, birds or people) that we can here call 'agents' (since they may or may not be alive), all following the same rules that lead to emergent phenomena such as population spiking in neurons, hurricanes in weather, flocking in birds, orgasms, the making of memories, or directing group behavior. Sync is an automatic response in a healthy system and strongly responsive individuals cannot hear music and sit still. Feet will tap, fingers will twiddle on knees. We achieve sync immediately after birth with the human who's holding us, when we calibrate our heartbeat automatically to the rhythm of theirs, and in this context sync (and embodiment) are important subroutines of bonding.

Brainwaves are an obvious form of synchronization within networks, used for information processing. Synchronized firing of neurons also forms the basis of all periodic motor commands for rhythmic movements. These are produced by a group of interacting neurons that form a network called a central pattern generator (CPG). Central pattern generators can produce rhythmic motor patterns in the absence of bottom-up (sensory) or top-down (descending inputs that carry specific timing information). Examples are walking, breathing and swimming.[85]

In addition to local synchronization, oscillatory activity of distant neural structures (single neurons or neural ensembles) can synchronize. Neural oscillations and synchronization have been linked to many cognitive functions such as information transfer, perception, motor control and memory.[86] It is sync that causes waves to propagate across brain networks from action potentials, and neural synchronization can be modulated by task constraints, such as attention. It contributes to feature binding,[87] neuronal communication,[88] and motor coordination.[89]

Conversation is very important in human interaction. Researchers have found that the brains of speakers and listeners become synchronized as they converse and that this "neural coupling" is key to effective communication. For example, partners in a conversation will unconsciously begin imitating each other, adopting similar grammatical structures, speaking rates, and even bodily postures. This overlap helps people establish a "common ground" during conversation and may even help them predict what the other is going to say next.[90] Sync is a feature of networks, but it is not specifically a neurological or even physiological phenomenon.

The first clue to how it works came from the study of emergent behavior in general and the discovery that anything able to interact with (receive and respond to) oscillatory behavior can synchronize. It doesn't even have to be alive, never mind intelligent. Inanimate objects can synchronize themselves, and sync is more a feature of reality in general that a speciality of behavioral science. Sync is a process and as such carries no value judgment (ie, it is not intrinsically 'good' or 'bad'). It can be very destructive, like action/reaction, if it happens by accident in inappropriate contexts. Every musician knows the nuisance of a venue where every time anyone hits a certain note all the light fittings or windows in the room resonate loudly, but Sync can cause more serious effects like seizures in the brain (for example in epilepsy); opera singers can accidentally shatter wine glasses or light bulbs with it; and it's being in sync with the wind frequency that made the Tacoma Narrows bridge fall down.[91]

Sync cannot occur without interaction. Once we know the rules for interaction, we can make sync happen on purpose or reproduce it accurately, for example by applying the rules to abstract agents in a computer program.[92] We can also take steps that allow it to unfold naturally in real life, and because it is of valuable use to our development we'll be looking at those steps below in the section on interaction.



Whilst embodiment and sync can catalyze bonding, they are not necessary for some types of bonding to occur. We can form strong emotional bonds with people we have only corresponded with, for example, or people who are now dead and whose creative works we appreciate, but with whom we have had no opportunity to embody or sync. These kinds of subroutines all seem able to catalyze each other, so we are treating them as subroutines in intelligence emergence. Bonding is essential in all close relationships and also for our own development. Indeed, without the experience of bonding, it's very difficult to develop strong intelligence. Bonding holds the intelligence-emergence process together. Our development is catalyzed through a series of bondings, from the most immediate concrete bonds to the final bond with intelligence itself.

Bonding is forming a connection and alignment between individual systems that can function despite distance in space as well as endure through time. Bonded individuals STAY bonded when separated (although embodied things do not always stay embodied and synchronized things do not always remain in sync.) Do not mistake bonding for anything woo-woo; bonding is a natural function that serves survival and development; it has nothing to do with 'quantum entanglement' and all that jazz. It emerges from our sensitivity in paying focused attention to feedback, as do embodiment and sync. For example; bonding with our environment is called environmental symbiosis. The context we all live in is our environment (also a construct). Any organism that can get extra feedback from its environment has obvious advantages over an organism which can't. A bonded creature knows its context intimately well, knows how it behaves in varied circumstances, and can predict what it is most likely to do from this information.

Bonding augments senses and processing, providing extra sensitivity to subtle changes in whatever we bond with (in this case our our environment); for unconscious awareness (intuition). For example if a storm, flood, earthquake or similar disaster is coming, most complex creatures get out of the way. Even tiny spiders tighten up their webs before a storm. There are far fewer animal deaths than human deaths in natural disasters, but this is not 'precognition' or anything to feel superstitious about. The animals' fine-tuned unconscious sensitivity to feedback (intuition) is working healthily and they are sensitive enough to pick up the subtle environmental 'pre-disaster' signals that alarm them into motivation, whereupon they grab their kids and leave, and don't stop till they feel comfortable again.[93]

They don't know why. Most of them haven't got a conscious clue why they are all leaving town, they just feel uncomfortable and nervous and have the urge to move. But unconscious intelligence knows. And some of the older animals, who've done it all before, and environmentally-bonded humans of course, do consciously associate and remember: “The last time I felt this weird, a short while later all the trees fell over”, is all they need to remember for things to make conscious sense, and unconscious intuition becomes congruous with conscious understanding. This is environmental symbiosis. The environment gives out subtle signals, and all the creatures who've interacted enough to bond -to be sufficiently sensitive to respond to that feedback- will benefit.

The whole of ecology contains interactive relationships of dynamic equilibrium based on unconscious environmental feedback from ongoing events -the animal eats a plant, and nothing happens until a critical mass of leaves has been nibbled; then the feedback to the plant causes automatic release of more protective toxins (you don't need consciousness for these processes). The feedback to the animal is then a bitter taste, and the animal responds by moving on to look for a tastier plant. Feedback and response maintain equilibrium in the ecosystem, which for creatures that pay attention to it and join in, whether consciously or not, brings great benefits.

Many humans know about and use this symbiosis for embodiment of information (natural learning) through feedback consciously and deliberately. For example, the Yequana tribe of South America deliberately take advantage of it for natural unconscious learning, and, while respecting a baby's 'stop' or 'go ahead' signals, dip them daily into more and more challenging waters. A daily bath is routine from birth, but every infant is also dipped into fast rivers, first only the feet, then the legs, then the entire body. The water goes from swift to swifter and on to plunging rapids and falls, and the time of exposure lengthens too, as the baby's response reveals growing confidence. Before he can walk or even think, a Yequana baby is well on the way towards expertise in judging the force, direction and depth of water by sight, sound and unconscious sensorimotor feedback. His people are among the finest white water canoeists in the world.[94]

The evolutionary benefits of personal bonding are apparent in the fact that children still too small to speak (aged from six months to 18 months) already use sophisticated but subtle non-verbal means to make friends and make each other laugh.[95] Bonding has also proven to alleviate anxiety when bondmates are separated -thinking about our bonded allies in times of stress changes our chemistry to be more resilient to that stress and helps us avoid anxiety. Even having a picture of them around can have the same effect.[96] Bonding between humans enables a nonverbal form of psychological interaction, an intuitive rapport that operates unconsciously. It involves what Chilton-Pearce called 'Primary Process Thinking', in which we encompass each others' psychological state or can 'reproduce each others' pattern of mental processes' in our own inner model, and this causes an adaptation of both parties.

We participate in shared functions by spontaneous responses that need no articulation, enjoying a mutual inspiration and emotional fulfilment, with a heightened awareness of our own and each others' needs. This does NOT mean telepathy! It is a very close form of empathy encompassing alignment and co-representation of mental processes. Put simply, embodiment embodies physical things, and bonding embodies other systems, including minds. Humans can form bonded relationships with each other, with their natural environment, with their culture, and with constructs and processes, only through interaction. When humans are bonded with each other they respond in similar ways to input and form cooperative strategies in behavior. They deliberately choose to work together towards common (and individual) goals, and they function in synergy -the whole is more than, not less than, the sum of its parts. If two people are less effective together than they are individually, they are not bonded.

We can consider bonding functionally and structurally as a 'bridge' between known and unknown systems. In this case people are systems. Self is our 'known system' and other is the 'unknown system'. By anxiety-free interaction with the unknown system we make enough connections (bonds) between it and ourselves to incorporate it into our own inner model (assimilate it into the 'known'). In perfect conditions, at birth we bond with our carer, and then to close allies. Around age four we bond with our environment, around eleven to our culture (our species' body of beneficial knowledge, ability and creative works). Later, mate-bonding and bonding with children takes place, and in full maturity we can bond with the primary process of intelligence itself (not just in us, but in all persons). We're more likely to bond more substantially if we have a lot of details in common, especially with regard to likes and dislikes, and have a similar ontology (which we'll explore in tutorial 11). Physical closeness also helps. A new study shows that 3-month-old infants bonded with their mothers can synchonize their heartbeats to mere milliseconds.[97]

Every time we bond, we build connections not just within networks but between networks, and these are bond-type-specific. Adult-Child bonding grows connections between N1-2 in the child, and N3-4 in the adult. Environmental bonding grows connections between N2-N3, Culture bonding, learner-master bonding and friendship bonding N3-N4, mate bonding N4-N5 and process-bonding N5-N6. The procedure of bonding in our relationships provides the concepts for the inner model needed for our own development. Of course, there are other ways of growing these connections, but bonding is a shortcut by far. Since we can form these bonds at any age, it's to our definite advantage to do so, and we'll be exploring more about how to achieve bonding through interaction later on. Individuals do not need to know that they are benefiting each other; they do not even need to be able to think at all. Bonding is automatic, if we follow the rules, just like sync is. Bonding is like setting up a private 'shared network' that bonded individuals have a dedicated connection to. The neural adaptation creates a brain growth spurt in all individuals involved.[98]

In September 2012 researchers discovered the neural signature of bonding-related behaviors in the brain. Bonding modulates brain activity and emotional weighting; we feel joy when those we are bonded to experience enjoyment. The septal/preoptic-anterior hypothalamic area (in front of and below the hippo/thalamus complex, sometimes included in the BG's) has been previously indicated as involved in bonding-related behaviors in other species but only now have researchers been able to show the existence of a neural signature of human bonding experience.[99] Bonding improves our ability to interact with both benefits and dangers for optimal outcomes. It's important to understand bonding as a practical process in the service of intelligence, and remove it from all concepts of sentiment. It is a process that increases our personal power to interact, while knowing that the other/s will be enhanced also.

Different networks focus on bonding us with different levels of reality; network 1 with sensorimotor functions and our bodies, N2 with our close ones and simple tools, N3 with our environment and other creatures, N4 with our culture, constructs and creations, N5 with mind as a construct and N6 with the core construct that is the program for intelligence itself. In all the varied types of cooperative behavior, for example our ability to find food, build shelters, raise our young and defend ourselves (or do pretty much anything) successfully in groups, relies on long term bonded relationships as strongly as it relies on long term memories.


In human relationships, unconscious and conscious interactive behavior may be used to achieve sync, embodiment and bonding; all important processes that augment intelligence and are essential for full development.

Now, we could attempt to get these processes working by painstakingly picking to bits our own behavior and rehearsing what we will say to so and so, and what we maybe should not say, and how we should behave with people like x or y, and analyzing every communication we might or might not have from the top down for several years; but neurohacking, let's be honest, is about hacking. And the hacking approach is congruous -it's aligned with our minds' dual goal of swiftly adapting the individual to better suit the needs of the context and adapting the context to better suit the needs of the individual. It's also aligned with biology's dual goals of entelechy and not wasting energy.

Instead of all the details, if we study the rules for embodiment, sync and bonding we find they have a great deal in common, not just with each other but with the rules for our learning cycle, memory, and imagination. The reason for this is they are ALL subroutines of the same underlying program; the master program for emergence through interaction. Intelligence itself is a hacker, evolution is a hacker, and emergence is the mother of all hackers. All solve problems by using code to bend (adapt) the same underlying set of rules. Evolution and intelligence are very powerful programmers too; evolution can and has crash-dumped entire species, ripped the usable code and inserted it somewhere else. Intelligence has had billions of years of fine-tuning itself via trial and error, and we humans do best when respecting it and working with it.

Emergence is inherent throughout nature -the basic program is always the same and the details are always different. In our case the 'details' are the emergence of intelligence through interaction. And the easter egg in here is this: all we need to do is interact, to get the intelligence program to unfold automatically. Interaction and intelligence emergence have the same relationship as natural selection and evolution; interaction/natural selection are methods to achieve emergence/evolution, which are outputs or results.

In fact, in programming terms, they are the same thing. Natural selection is biological-environmental interaction guided by unconscious programs that leads to the emergence of better-adapted physical forms, and this IS unconscious intelligence. Conscious intelligence uses psychological-interpersonal interaction as well as biological-enviromental interaction; to lead to the emergence of better-adapted intelligence. What sets us apart from other animals is not interaction but our level of ability to interact, our ongoing adaptability to new and more complex ways to interact, and our ability to consciously augment, plan and direct interaction; our personal power. Personal power can be measured as how much of our waking time we are allowing intelligence to run -because that determines our ability to interact. Intelligence IS the ability (power) to interact.

If we understand intelligence emergence itself, and practice interaction, we don't need to do loads of analysis to see what's going on in the big picture; it becomes obvious what's going on. We can bypass needing to learn 'how to' bond, or 'how to' synchronize, or 'how to' embody stuff, because it will all happen naturally by itself. Emergence is what nature has to do, when we behave naturally (ie, interact), there is no choice but for intelligence to develop. Interaction is what intelligence does when we are being our real selves, because all of our needs and desires of every kind are based on the evolutionary drive for entelechy; and it is our unconscious (and often conscious) desire to interact that shapes the details of our behavior in the here and now every day.


Students' FAQ: If, as we claim, intelligence is the power to interact, how can interaction increase our ability to interact? That's like saying swimming can increase our ability to swim -how can we learn to swim in the first place?


A: The same way that we learn to walk -play with the equipment, the context and the process -in other words, interact; follow the emergence program (in this case for learning -COMP VC), and doing this will engage the attention, strengthen the muscles and improve the balance needed to get the hang of walking. The more we model others and then practice walking, the more we increase our ability to walk and all the processes involved in walking which can be abstracted for other tasks like climbing or running -new ways to interact- during the 'variation' part of learning, and so on.


Self-improving 'bootstrapping' is the same process by which lifting weights can increase our ability to lift weights. We start with easy, 'lightly-weighted' interactions and as we go on, naturally find that our mind is more flexible and can take on more complex interactions with higher emotional weighting. This is how we build our resilience and 'muscular-mindedness' in adapting to stressful conditions and events, exactly the same way we build our immune system database by interaction with every invader.

Each interaction increases our ability to interact; with more and varied agents, contexts, behaviors, events and processes. It is a self-improving system. This is how we build conscious flexible logic and an open intelligence; by repeatedly interacting, all of our lives.

Some of the more obvious factors of intelligence in interaction include emotion, empathy, modeling and imagination, but the point is, ALL of our abilities and networks are used in intelligent interaction because that is what they are designed to do. A healthy mind doesn't run any other kind of software.

Our real self IS ever-emerging intelligence. -We are a program that interacts with appropriate input (reality) to come up with appropriate output (greater ability to interact).

Interaction between that program and its appropriate input (reality) needs to be practiced as a way of life, not an exercise; a beneficial habit that we should aim to be addicted to as dearly as breathing, as our main means of more than survival; our means of thriving, succeeding, fulfilling our own potential and reaching optimal development. Becoming what we are meant to be.

We defined interaction technically above as, "A two-way flow of information between agents that maintains a dynamic equilibrium, in which all interacting parties benefit." We can now broaden our understanding of interaction as a process that can be employed on purpose in NH as both a shortcut to faster developmemt and a way to optimize relationships.

We're going to look briefly at the role of interaction in the 'master program' for intelligence emergence and then introduce a proven simple formula for ensuring interaction in relationships; Rogers' Core Conditions. It's very useful to get a basic idea of the master program itself; because it directs the unconsciously 'expected' sequence of events from our unconscious minds' pov (and we'll explore this in depth in tutorial 11). But we don't need to remember all the details. The main thing to remember is the one single instruction that achieves this whole sequence automatically: “Interact”. This is our 'load' directive to run intelligence.



“It’s not who I am underneath, it’s what I DO, that defines me”

(Batman, in Batman Begins).


It is absolutely possible to create, in terms that are clearly definable and measurable by science, the psychological conditions that bring about constructive beneficial personality and behavioral changes, improvements to relationships, more effective communication, and faster development of intelligence. The process we use to create these changes is the default program for emergence of intelligence in general; interaction.

Consistent practice of interaction achieves beneficial changes in the personality structure of the individual, at both surface and deeper levels, in a direction that produces greater integration and congruity, less internal conflict, more energy utilizable for effective living, emotional stability, and changes in behavior away from behaviors generally regarded as immature or dysfunctional and toward behaviors regarded as mature and healthy.[100]

Known side effects of interaction include greater success and fewer problems, greatly augmented intelligence, enjoyable stable relationships, and often amazement followed by joy.

We should expect these “beneficial changes” to occur in OURSELVES; not in other person/s we interact with, although they may improve too. We do not practice interaction to try to deliberately change others, but to deliberately improve ourselves and our lives.

Interaction could just as legitimately be called, “What intelligence does if it's allowed to run”. It encompasses conscious as well as unconscious behavior; it results in these beneficial psychological conditions being implemented; and it establishes us in an optimal mode of being; a state of mind and body in which we can adapt ourselves to new unknowns and adapt new unknowns to ourselves in real time. (This behavior is entelechy; or Roger's 'actualizing tendency'; our innate desire to explore, learn and grow, and become the best that we can possibly be.)

We all know how to interact in some ways, or we would not have developed this far! The measure of intelligence in human beings is the measure of their power to interact, because ONLY interaction achieves intelligence development. Interaction is THE main process of intelligence because everything the healthy mind does, even in sleep, including all perception, prediction and memory, all healthy thought and behavior, is, if healthy, a type of interaction.

Interaction is the main function of the brain's CPU -N3/N6. However, all networks contribute different skills or information for interaction. As you might expect, N1 contributes to sensorimotor material interaction, N2 to behavioral/contextual spatial interaction, and together with N3 they enable embodiment. Network 3 contributes to emotional/environmental weighting in interaction, N4 to cultural/temporal interaction, and together with rear nets they enable bonding. N5 contributes to feedback/dynamic interaction, N6 itself is needed to coordinate all this information and coordinate US as an entity by communicating and directing the performance of interactive behavior. Together, all networks contribute to our ability to interact.

Now we are beginning to see why we must develop things in the right order -the skills of front networks rely heavily on the abilities of rear ones. However, even though it's directed by N6, we don't need to know all about frontal networks in order to understand interaction, as we are for now looking only at interaction in relationships, which N3 contributes a great deal to through emotional and environmental weighting.


Students' FAQ: If we haven't yet built up enough of network 6, but we need N6 to interact, how are we supposed to interact? -Isn't this doing things in the wrong order?


A: Interaction, like many essential processes, is possible at all stages of development. Some interaction is possible even with just one network -specifically in order to grow the next network! We are practising a type of interaction modulated mainly by Networks 3 and 4, so this is not like trying to fly before we can walk; it is like learning to fly now that gliding is automatic.


The ability to interact adaptively is the highest measure of intelligence. It is an ability we are all born with, but that we need to use in order to develop further, and there are not many good examples of interaction in current societies to teach us as children! Fortunately our natural ability to interact can be developed at any age, by following the core conditions. This is very important, because good mental health in human beings depends on successful interaction.

Interaction can only take place when anxiety is low, because the chemicals it needs cannot be produced or maintained in a soup of anxiety hormones. Interaction often needs oxytocin, for example, but cortisol plus oxytocin won't work -instead of initiating the emotions of friendliness, these two chemicals will either render each other inert or the dominant one will direct behavior but with much weaker weightings. The result will be chemical (and so emotional) confusion. Up on the behavioral front, we'll have ambivalent feelings about someone and have difficulty deciding whether we're interested In them, or whether they're interested in us.

Likewise, excess cortisol plus serotonin makes us easily disgusted; exactly the opposite of what we need for making allies! The behavior of a stranger will be viewed with a bias for spotting things we find disgusting about them rather than reality as it is.

Sentiment is not always the reason for failure to interact. Some frontloaders (particularly with dominant N5 and weak N3), and people with certain types of autism or asperger's syndrome often have trouble with empathy specifically, and interaction in general. Such individuals are not sentimental; often they are described as emotionally 'cold' or like 'Mr Spock', and they are noted for poor personal communication skills. The ability to process, recall, or even recognize nonverbal nuances, vital for good interaction, is greatly reduced in both N5 dominance and N3/N4 sparsity. For example, although able to comprehend formal language very well, such people have difficulty understanding context and emotional connotation, drawing inferences, relating what is heard to its proper context, determining the overall gist or theme, and recognizing discrepancies. They often miss the point, respond to inappropriate details, are accidentally rude, or fail to appreciate fully when they are being presented with information that is sarcastic, incongruous or even implausible.[101]

Such people tend to be very concrete and literal, and also have difficulty understanding intent, morals, motives, emotions, metaphoric associations, aesthetics, or overall main points (e.g. they lose the gestalt), although the ability to recall isolated facts is preserved very well; facts and declarative information being the province of N5 in the left hemisphere.[102]


Intelligence Emergence through interaction

The primary mechanism of emergence is a critical mass of individual interactions. Agents doing the interacting can be neurons, molecules, humans or ants picking up each others’ signals as they go about sending their own. The same 'emergence' rules that the physical world uses for everything (including its own emergence) produce the algorithm that allows intelligence to emerge. We already know these rules in the context of learning and memory, and in tutorial 9 we looked at the 'emergence' program in some detail. To remind us, here it is:


1. "Many into one, part 1" (Gather together many similar agents associated by similar type.)

2. "One into many, part 1" (Spread similar agents out into different contexts.)

3. "Adaptation, part 1" (Allow agents to interact with and adapt themselves to their context's needs.)

4. "Many into one, part 2" (Gather together many different agents associated by similar type, synchronize and synthesize them into one construct.)

5. "One into many, part 2" (Spread similar agents out into different contexts, analyze them and individualize them for many contexts.)

6. "Adaptation, part 2" (Allow agents to interact with and adapt their contexts to their own needs.)


The emergence program in context of relationships

By now we're getting used to this 'one program, multiple applications' business in the energy-saving, resource-recycling behavior of intelligence. The reason we want you to 'grasp' the master program consciously as a 'course of events' is that it's the neurohackers' Mother of All Algorithms. As a process or 'series of events' it is universally applicable to everything in the same way N3's grid can underlay anything, and it can be used consciously on purpose for mapping, navigating and directing interaction in much the same way N3's model can be used for mapping and navigating the landscape.

We are in fact designed by biology to direct our relationships and situations and plans into healthier outcomes, by making conscious our unconscious awareness of this program and working with it. Intelligence is designed to facilitate its own emergence through interaction, and it's a lot easier to interact when we know the background sequence of events that is the program unfolding. So we'll now look at the master program as it functions in physical, behavioral and psychological domains in personal relationships.

Bear in mind that we are looking at some details here because it's useful to see how healthy relationships develop, but there's no need to try to learn them or remember them. The unconscious mind already knows them very well; it's been running the program since time began, and that's a shitload of airmiles. Knowing 'what's going on underneath' the details can help us understand why we feel the way we do at certain stages in a relationship and the main points at which things can go wrong.


1 Many into one, part 1

Individual agents with similarities in common are attracted to each other, tend to gather together and make a pattern or formation.

There is a spontaneous ordering necessary for interaction that is sometimes automatic (for example protein molecules fold up in the formations they do because of chemical/electrical affinity or repulsion). In more complex creatures this 'ordering' can be unconsciously instinctive (for example fish respond to disturbances by spontaneously forming baitballs); and in self-directing consciously intelligent creatures like us, the ordering can be consciously autonomous (for example members of an orchestra sit beside each other deliberately in curved rows and modules, dancers form intentional patterned groups, we hang out in the same place at the same time most of our friends do, we post on the same forums as those who interest us, etc.)

Every relationship starts with somebody noticing somebody else and finding them interesting. Agents need to gather close enough to their neighbors to interact (exchange information and feedback). If we put two batches of living heart cells on a microscope slide (living heart cells still fire and the tissue 'beats') they will initially pulse out of sync. If we move them slowly together, at some critical distance (they do not have to touch) their vibrations can be felt through the slide as feedback to each other and at that point they go into sync.[103]

There must be a sufficient number of individuals gathered together (brain cells, ants, chemicals) that are able to interact, to get enough feedback to run the program. The statistical nature of bottom-up interaction demands that the system gets enough feedback to make accurate assessments of its state as a whole. Ten isolated ants can't create a colony, ten isolated neurons communicating inside the brain will not be able to accurately judge the need for more network building here or there, and ten isolated people can't select optimal partners from the human gene pool, but two thousand of these agents freely interacting can allow such behaviors to emerge automatically or autonomically.

The mind, for its part, needs to gather enough bits of input about the other person/s, all associated together congruently with what we know about ourselves, to correctly judge whether someone's interesting (or interested), decide whether they seem compatible with us, and whether we'd like to get closer to them. To gather that input accurately, we need a non-anxious mind paying attention to the here and now. Any creature can only pay attention if it feels safe (or in the case of humans, believes that it is), and is in a relaxed, receptive, attentive state. If we cannot notice each other in the first place, or anxiously misjudge each other on first sight, there's not much hope for a relationship.

The emotion required for being receptive to interaction is comfort or happiness, and the transmitter most required is serotonin. We must be in a relaxed, secure, receptive space for the process to begin, feel comfortable with the person and find their company pleasing; they attract our attention and we feel happy when we are around them. During this time we pay attention to them (sometimes from afar) and decide how we feel about them. Sometimes this stage is very brief; with greater unknowns (people we find more unusual) it takes longer.


One into many part 1

We must at this stage depart from the space of the 'known', stretch ourselves and venture into the unknown; seeking interaction and taking every reasonable opportunity to engage with the person/s, observe them and learn more about them. This is akin to 'courting' behavior in human interactions (although it should not be taken to mean sexual pursuit in the context of relationships in general), and we must avoid being too obsessive and 'stalking'. We try to establish a 'goldilocks zone' with regard to the object of inquiry -not too much interaction (we don't want to be pushy or rude), but there must be enough to motivate finding out more about each other. “First Contact” means introducing ourselves and talking; getting to know each other. We may include other bonding triggers such as sharing a meal or drinks, close physical proximity, eye contact, and a broader range of discussion. We tell each other about our likes and dislikes and we try out our humor to see if theirs is the same. There is some evidence that moderate doses of alcohol can enhance our ability to bond, possibly because it reduces anxiety.[104]

The best way to get to know each other better is for the agents to do many different things together, and we currently call this 'hanging out'. We need space to interact with the people of our choice, free from distractions and interruptions. It takes motivation, energy, interest and healthy self esteem to make 'first contact' and maintain interaction. If we don't make a move, either through shyness or apathy, we will only ever 'wish that' we could get to know more interesting people, or sit around for years admiring someone from afar.

Learning that motivation, energy and self esteem COME FROM interaction is something we need experience of in order to understand. Although initially the stranger seems unknown, in interaction we work to establish what we have in common, and what we do not. The unconscious is all the while calculating probabilities; assessing benefit-to-danger ratios. If we still don't feel safe and welcome with someone when we get to know them a little, we tend to withdraw. If we do, we continue to work toward unity.

Agents are attracted to each other to some degree at this stage but not too much, enabling them to find that 'goldilocks' distance sufficient to interact without interfering with each others' behavior. In the case of agents such as birds synchronizing, they must avoid crashing into each other. In the case of neurons, they must avoid signal interference. In the case of people, we want others to know clearly if we're interested but we don't want them to think we are too obsessed or insecure. We don't want to interfere with their autonomy, but we do want to spend more time with them.

This polite-yet-interested dance is the second stage of all relationships, and the program remains the same whether the 'agents' we wish to bond with are machines, games, animals, the environment, academic subjects, friends, children, strangers, siblings, parents or sexual partners. In human relationships the emotion required in this stage is desire (to know the agent/s better), and the transmitter most required is dopamine.


Adaptation part 1

Agents are mainly aware of and interacting with those closest to them. Paying attention to those close to us in the here and now and responding as they do (we will become more like whatever we are surrounded by), we synchronize into mutual conformity and cooperation (i.e. individuals start to adjust their timing and rhythm and their chemistry -and their lifestyles- to match each other, interacting in mutually helpful ways.) This is how newborn cells in the brain know they are neurons, by modeling the activity of their neighbors, embodying the behavior of others around themselves and getting into sync.

Bonding means joining together. At this stage we may adapt ourselves to suit the other person by 'embodying' them and synchronizing with them, aligning our behavior to fit in with theirs, and they do the same. The emotion required is amiability, and the transmitter most required is oxytocin. Modeling each others' body language and facial expressions as well as pheromones helps us synchronize chemically as well as physically and embodiment proceeds. Soon we are synchronized emotionally as well as physically. A popular pursuit for friends is to watch a movie together, get into 'altered states' together or go to a gig. Experiencing strong emotions together with someone else synchronizes brain activity across individuals.

Seeing others' emotional expressions such as smiles triggers often the corresponding emotional response in the observer. Such synchronization of emotional states across individuals supports survival and cultural interaction: When all those present share a common congruous emotional state, their brains and bodies process the environment and events in a similar fashion. Researchers have now found that feeling strong emotions makes different individuals' brain activity literally synchronous and that repeated incidents increase the potential for it becoming a habit. We will become more like whatever we are surrounded by (and we're really starting to 'get' this rule now!) Biology models biology, and all the rest (including the way we feel about each other and how we behave) just follows. INSERT PICTURE SYNC EMOTION

Those involved in groups such as bands, teams, alliances or the military will need no telling what fosters cameraderie. Sharing the bad times can help us bond with others just as much as the good times. Research results reveal that feeling strong unpleasant emotions together synchronizes emotion processing networks in N3 and N6 (midline and frontal) regions. On the contrary, experiencing highly arousing pleasant emotions synchronizes activity in N1, N2 (the networks supporting vision, attention and sense of touch) and N3. The optimal shared experiences are of course pleasant ones, but all that is required for sync is sharing, period.

Sharing others' emotional states provides the observers a somatosensory and neural framework that facilitates understanding others' intentions and actions and allows to 'tune in' or 'sync' with them. Such automatic tuning facilitates social interaction and group processes.[105] All these activities encourage person-to-person bonding. Bonding is something allies do. To the unconscious, an ally is someone we are either bonded with or are interested in bonding with. This may include friends, beloved relatives and colleagues.

There may also be acquaintances, relatives and colleagues whom we are NOT bonded with -that is to say, simply being genetically related to or working together does not imply a bond, being a sexual partner does not imply a bond, even being a parent does not imply a bond -only bonding as a process creates a bond. If we have gone through the process this far, we are bonded, and if we haven't, we aren't.

When bonded, we construct an empathic understanding of the other person’s frame of reference and can predict or interpret their state of mind and behavior with greater clarity. Through modeling and adapting ourselves to each other, we start to process things in similar ways and build connections in the same places, and our inner models begin to align. At this point in a sexual relationship, sex usually happens. (Sex is a lot more fun if we are bonded first.) Many other types of close relationships don't involve sexuality at all, but they all involve bonding.


These first three stages of emergence are enough to set up the conditions for embodiment, sync, and bonding. In learning, they are adapted into 'concentration', 'observation' and 'modeling'. In memory they are adapted into 'reception', 'perception', and 'encoding & weighting'.

Most of us have some experience of close relationships up to this point. Anxiety-based relationships can fail at all stages, but most often fail in stage 4:


Many into one, part 2

For stable long term relationships, interaction practice makes perfect. A critical mass of interaction must take place over time before full bonding can occur. Think of this as being like a pilot who has to get not only 'x' amount of experience (airmiles) in practice before a pilot's license will be granted, but who must then maintain regular practice; not only to keep that license but to stay on form and improve over time.

Relationships must have both focus and interactive 'staying power'. This requires both congruity and a shared ontology (see next tutorial). In short, we cannot just join together; we must grow together and develop together or we're going to end up going out of sync and drifting apart. Interaction is something we must do, and continue to do as much as we can. Each interaction makes it easier to interact, but we must dedicate time to culturing important relationships at the expense of other pursuits. If we really want to fly, we gotta put in those airmiles.

At this stage in a healthy relationship the partners begin to work together on creative constructs and projects, operating in synergy. Building a home or place to work together is often a first construct. Creative projects may be anything from exploration, ideas, creations, inventions or theories, to nurturing a family. The emotion most likely to be helpful in long term relationships is levity; a good shared sense of humor, and the transmitters most likely to be required are acetylcholine and oxytocin. The most helpful skill to develop for long term stability is empathy. Above all, close relationships that stand the test of time need ongoing empathy. It is the smoothness of interaction and consolidation of procedural memory facilitated by consistent empathic experience as practice that fine-tunes synchronized behavior. The more interaction agents get, the more closely they can behave as one. Cells that fired together have wired together. Responding in a complementary, 'unified' way is now becoming automatic.

Good interaction requires understanding that other peoples' intelligence is likely to require very different things to develop than ours personally needs, and may have (or be developing) a very different inner model to our own, which we need to learn about in order to better empathize. A major problem for many relationships is that we unconsciously 'expect' empathy even though we are not too good at it ourselves. If empathy is absent but self-esteem is healthy we'll wonder why others seem to expect us to be somehow telepathic about their needs (“You should KNOW I need x without me having to ask”), while if empathy is absent and self esteem is low, we'll feel that others are being insensitive or not caring about our needs.

Empathy is necessary not just in the 'status quo' of our minds when we first meet. It is necessary to empathize -and synchronize- with changes going on in each others' minds and stay up to date with each other in our shared inner model. Of great help in achieving this is constructing a conscious shared ontology, and we'll be exploring the role of ontology-hacking in augmenting empathy in the next tutorial.


One into many, part 2

“Turn and face the strange changes,” sang David Bowie, and that's what this stage is all about. Practice perfects synchronized responses in a known context, but variation enables dynamic adaptation to change when contexts are new or when circumstances suddenly alter. And in every relationship, sooner or later, circumstances always do. Relationships must adapt to change as well as enduring through time. Through good times and bad, easy times and difficult, we must continue to adapt and interact.

For living things the directive “target benefits, avoid dangers” comes into play whenever change occurs and benefits or dangers appear. In a crisis, for example when a group of creatures is attacked by a predator, individuals scatter in all directions then reform according to the 'many into one' rule. To understand what's going on we need clear understanding of the meaning of behaving in 'enlightened self interest'. It means 'behaving as our real self'. It means that as intelligence develops, doing what intelligence needs is the same thing as doing what we want.

Here's an example of it: it looks to the casual observer like flocking or swarming creatures are surviving due to some amazing synchronized cooperative behavior -and they are- but in reality there is simply automatic altruism here. Each individual is behaving only in its own enlightened self interest and trusting intelligence to do the rest, it's interacting; and that behavior automatically benefits the whole group. The needs of the one are automatically met by the deeds of the many each following their own self interest.

The fact that behaving in our own self interest automatically produces benefits for all is is a very important thing to learn in NH, because we have been programmed to believe pretty much the opposite, but as long as intelligence is 'at the helm' in our minds, it's true. Behaving in our own self interest (and developing our intelligence) is the best -and possibly the only- way we can benefit those we care about, humanity, our environment, and the bigger picture.

If you can grasp this reality -that enlightened self interest is the only thing that leads to truly altruistic behavior- that making as many allies as possible is in your own best interests- your progress will be swift! Genuine emotion and the ability to be our real self is required for enlightened self interest, and relationships based on sentiment cannot achieve this stage. Genuineness, clarity, honesty wherever possible, and being our 'real self' allows us to communicate easily and clearly.

When potential dangers (such as illness or injury) arise, we must not mistake healthy emotions such as alarm, offense/defensiveness or disgust, for anxiety. We can be under great stress and intense emotion but still interact -as long as we don't fall prey to anxiety. Appropriate interaction in stressful circumstances may even mean we need to take a stand together, fight together, or run away together, but it never means panic. When potential benefits arise (such as the opportunity to mate with more than one person, or make a new close friend,) they can be a bigger challenge than dangers in relationships based on sentiment. Relationships based on genuine emotion will consider the risk/benefit ratio of any opportunity and decide what to do (in fact, at this stage they've probably talked about this sort of stuff beforehand and predicted what they'd do).

Honesty and genuineness are a vital foundation for all close relationships because if we can't be our real selves with someone, we will never fully bond. The emotion most likely to be required is confidence and the transmitters most likely to be required are norepinephrine and oxytocin.


Adaptation, part 2

When we interact; with an animal or machine, a tool or game, our natural environment, or other human beings, there must be a sharing of power and we must never try to force anything. In relationships, interaction can only 'do its thing' with no coercion and this sharing of personal power. This means absolute, unconditional equality of respect between all individuals involved and respect for the nature of intelligence. Respecting someone means treating them always as the intelligence that is their real selves, bypassing any anxiety-triggered deviations from that. By talking to people's real selves, (including our own) and treating them as their real selves, we remind them of who they really are and inspire them to respond as their real selves -this is one way interaction frees up stuck development. We adapt ourselves to the needs of the context (other people and events) by interacting, and our interactions automatically adapt other people and events to better suit ourselves. Thus we achieve unity.

We all remain, however, autonomous (in case you have associations with 'unity' as some kind of insectoid Borg-like relationship devoid of individuality.) In a bonded relationship, all individuals have autonomy of choice. Each may behave freely as they wish, and does not try to direct the other/s. When they are together, they choose to interact together for greater mutual benefit; not out of any anxious dependence or need. This doesn't mean we don't acknowledge each others' expertise and specialties. If only one of us can write a program or sail a boat, that dude is in charge whenever that skill is necessary -but only in the capacity of their expertise. Likewise if others ask us to tell them what to do to perform a process, it's fine to do that. But there can be no one 'in charge', no one is superior, and no coercion can be used in a relationship if we aim to bring out the best in both of us. That requires natural behavior, regular cooperation and experience, feedback and respect. Power-sharing means we adopt this position of unconditional positive regard toward others without bias or prejudgment; regardless of age, sex, experience, financial status, qualifications or past deeds (pay special attention to that last item). Interaction requires we remain in the here and now, and that gives everyone a chance to return to developing into the person they truly are and have the potential to be. The emotion most likely to be required is love or joy, and the transmitters most likely to be required are endorphins and oxytocin.

In these conditions, long term stable relationships form and thrive. Agents have a tendency to model each other and conform to some extent while maintaining individuality and innovation in others. Whether the emergence program is used for enabling sync, learning or congruous relationships, once it's running, IT, the program, our real self, is in charge of interaction. This ‘out of control’ interaction with shared power and autonomy (where all individuals are free to seek their own input and respond spontaneously as they personally see fit) is necessary for intelligence to emerge. There can be no government, no coercion, no users, no boss, no teachers, no preachers, no dictating deities and no leader, or close relationships will fail to thrive.

Nobody choreographs, dictates, leads, rules or administrates a flock of birds or a shoal of fish.

...Are we saying that it can choreograph itself? -No, Neo; we're saying it won't have to! Any emergent system, given the system requirements, runs itself, and this one's been running itself for billions of years. Expecting it to need management is as daft as expecting to need someone to manage the planets and coerce them into orbiting the sun.


It is interaction between the basics -the software of intelligence operation (our mind, when we are our real self); and the details -appropriate input to operate on (context, other people & events); via a hardware platform (the biology of brains & bodies); in a matrix (the real world); that results in the emergence of intelligence. When we are asked to interact, we are simply being asked to allow the program already within us to do its thing, and to give it healthy input, because the program is our real self.


Keeping it simple -Rogers' Core Conditions

As we said earlier there's no need to remember all these details, although we will benefit by coming back to them for reference as we learn more.

Carl Rogers summed up the requirements for ensuring interactive behavior in his core conditions. We encountered Rogers' theories way back when we were newbies so if you don't recall his ideas, you should look back at the sections on Rogers in tutorials 4, 5, and 6, because a good background picture of Rogers' theories are helpful in understanding what comes next. In tutorial 4 we introduced Rogers' concept of incongruity; the gap between the real self and society's ideal self, how experiencing only conditional respect leads to conditional self-respect, and how incongruity arises when we try to make our real and artificial selves share the same inner model.

In T5 we learned why humans need 'unconditional positive regard' ( Rogers’ broad-spectrum term for things like respect, affection, politeness, kindness, nurturing, love etc), and what happens when we are given only 'conditional' regard; and we introduced the concept of organismic valuing (when our culture and our own likes and dislikes are both in sync with what is actually good and bad for us.) In T6 we learned the difference between intent and intention, how intention gets in the way of interaction and intelligence development, and explored Rogers' theory on natural learning. Now we're going to look at Rogers' Core Conditions for interaction.

Rogers' original core conditions included both context and behavior. The three contextual conditions were:

1 Psychological contact (to interact, people must be in contact and each makes some perceived difference in the experience of the other, even if only unconsciously).

2 Awareness of anxiety (when we have no awareness of incongruity in ourselves, then we are merely vulnerable to the possibility of anxiety and confusion. We become anxious whenever incongruity becomes apparent, unconsciously or consciously. It's not necessary to be totally anxiety-free to practice interaction; what is required is awareness of anxiety).

3 Awareness of understanding (we must be able to communicate our understanding of other people TO them by words and behavior).


The three behavioral conditions were:

1 Empathy (understanding & awareness of others’ emotions, situations and needs).

2 Genuineness (honesty, integrity, being our real self).

    3 Unconditional positive regard (respect for the others’ intelligence as their real self, attentiveness, propriety).

For familiarity and greater ease of interpretation and association, we have chosen to call them Empathy, Honesty and Respect.


These apply as follows:
1. They are used all together. They are interrelated. If one gets left out, interaction will be limited and outcomes may not be beneficial.
2. They are used universally. They apply to all types of person, all types of situations, and all types of relationship.
3. They are sufficient. Nothing more is needed.


-There is no ‘play acting’, pretending, intentions, rote learning, techniques or role play required, there is no script to follow, details are irrelevant, and nothing more needs to be contrived for a beneficial outcome. All we have to do is employ these conditions and play. Using the core conditions is a skill; an ability we can develop. Regardless of what you know about the other person/s, the core behavior and attitude is what counts in interaction, and behaviors can be learned, attitudes can be developed. Ways of thinking and talking and even thinking are also habits of behavior that we can apply the core conditions to.

The more often the core conditions are used, the more marked will be the constructive changes in personality, behavior and emotional stability, and the faster they will occur. So we must be sure to get in our core-conditions airmiles. Buckle your seatbelt Dorothy; deliberately initiating genuine interaction is the same as pressing 'run' for the master program of intelligence.


Achieving empathy

There are three basic 'positions', attitudes of operation or states of mind people operate from; wronguse, nonuse, and interactive. We can practice empathy by learning to recognize initially which of the three basic positions ourselves and others are most often operating from in real life situations. It’s easiest to start by categorizing behavior like this so that we can discern the underlying attitudes and 'world views', and it works very well.

We must understand how anxiety works in order to see where each of these attitudes is coming from, understand what the persons related needs and problems might be, and consider how we could respond to these situations with a healthy attitude. As we reduce anxiety, we are able to empathize much more easily (because anxiety hormones restrict the growth of mirror neurons, the type of brain cells we need for empathy). Once we are no longer anxious, all our brain networks will increase in density by themselves. When we have the ability to understand others’ actions or reactions as resulting from anxiety, we gain a more sensitive awareness of the way reality seems to them, and by 'working out' those mirror neurons, significant empathic improvement takes place.

Empathy involves being able to achieve an inner model of another person's view of reality from their perspective, and conveying our understanding to them. It is not about trying to feel (or get them to feel) “we are all in the same boat”; it is about climbing into their boat and looking around to see what their boat is like, and letting them know we can do that. People feel deeply appreciative when they are simply understood – not evaluated, not judged, not advised, simply understood from their own point of view, not ours. To sense others' experience of the world as if it were our own, but without ever losing the 'as if' quality; this is empathy. To understand why they are feeling what they are feeling without getting caught up in it.

It's not about 'what we would do in their position'; it's about understanding how they feel themselves in their position, imagining how they feel being them. When someone else's world view or inner model is clear to us and we can move about in it freely, then we can communicate our understanding to them and can also voice meanings in their experience of which they may not be aware. This is how we each 'build a bridge' between our own and the other person's system; by each of us increasing their database of 'known' about the other. Only when we are clear about the known can we venture clearly into the unknown together.


Achieving honesty

Honesty requires an awareness of our own 'here and now' experiences, thoughts and feelings, and the capacity to behave openly and honestly as our real selves. We need to have a genuine desire to interact, and a genuine desire to learn. If we find it hard to achieve this or feel short of motivation, we probably need to understand more about why it’s in our best interests to do so –remember this is about improving our intelligence. The more we interact, the smarter we will get. Nothing builds up brains like it.

Honesty is about being our real self, and interacting as the intelligence we truly are. To remain in this state we need congruity; otherwise we'll just think we're being honest by sharing our opinions; inconsistent though they may be. Honesty is not being some neurological wizard who is congruous, integrated and emotionally well-balanced all the time. It's simply being honest about what we're experiencing, thinking and feeling, for example a good interaction if we are nervous of the loud and physical would be to say: “I feel anxious and can't think straight when people raise their voices or hit things”. Being our real self is the opposite of a facade; it is being ourself instead of doing what anxiety wants (acting how we think others or society would like us to be.)

A lot of people have trouble understanding what honesty is. Don't mistake honesty for 'confessing', or open-sourcing the contents of our minds. Honesty is not about “telling each other the truth about absolutely everything regarding ourself” -in fact we can be honest with someone by saying, “I'm not telling you anything about myself”.

To achieve honesty we have to keep anxiety out of the way. If you don’t know how much anxiety affects our intelligence and health, read “Anxiety & input control: the basics” in the Library Basics files. The degree to which anxiety controls our minds and prevents us from being ourselves can be assessed by counting up the number of unnecessary lies we tell and counting the time we spend doing what we don't want (but know or believe others want) instead of doing what we need. Let's clarify that:

In dangerous circumstances it's often in our survival interests to lie. Camouflage is a good example; the leaf-like insect is effectively saying to the predator, “There's nobody here but us leaves”. This is normal healthy behavior. In circumstances where there is NO danger however, it is deleterious to lie. Misinforming the enemy is one thing -misinforming each other because of anxiety is not good for relationships or for understanding the truth.

There are several important things to remember about lying: The less lying we have to do, the faster we develop. We are biologically designed to interact with and share the truth about reality. Lying increases cortisol release and prevents bonding. The unconscious assumes when we are lying we must be in danger and shifts us into 'protection mode', where no growth can take place. It is extremely rare for any human being to be capable of keeping a secret, even with the best intentions or promises. We are biologically driven to share important news with allies and feel 'burdened' or deceitful when holding information others can't share.

Most people lie without consciously knowing they are doing it, but the unconscious knows. Pretending we want to do something when we don't, for financial gain or to avoid threatened harm, is lying. We are biologically designed to function optimally only when free from coercion.

Lying to someone out of 'fear of losing them' or 'fear of getting hurt' is anxiety-based lying. Genuine people don't 'lose' each other unless they want to, and if someone is hurting us against our will (leaving room for masochists here) there is no chance of a healthy relationship.


Communication is the front line of most misunderstanding and most lying. The most important issues threatening relationships are things that stand in the way of maintaining core conditions. All of the following phrases are honest, and can benefit interaction in relationships when appropriate to the circumstances:


“For some reason I don't feel comfortable talking about x/doing y”

“I don't know the answer to that question”

“I'm not really interested in subject x”

“I don't know why I did x/believed y/said z, it seems pretty dumb in retrospect”

“I'm feeling anxious right now and anything I say or do shouldn't be taken seriously”

“I'm not feeling myself/quite on form/very well right now”

“I think I'm having snapback”

“I don't think I'm communicating so well lately”

“I think I need some space alone to get objective and think this through”

“When you do x I seem to feel y and I don't know why that happens”

“I'm confused, can you help me calm down and get this straight in my mind?”

“I've made a mistake and I don't know what to do about it”

“I'm feeling anxious, give me some time to chill out”

“Hang on a minute -what are the likely results of doing this?”

“I'm sorry that happened; can you help me work on preventing it happening again?”


Learning to be honest in such ways and being our real genuine self will enable a relationship to endure all storms.


Achieving respect

Respect means there are no conditions of acceptance; no feeling of 'I like you only IF you are/do/say/believe so-and-so'. It means caring for someone but not in a possessive way or a dependent way or in order to satisfy something we want. It means learning about a person and accepting them as the person they are, discovering their own current world view and point of view, feelings and experiences and potential for intelligence and interaction. To let someone know we respect them, we must convey that respect by our words and behavior. Developing the capacity to experience and express these attitudes is interaction. We show respect by our willingness to interact with someone, by assuming their goodwill, by acknowledging their uniqueness and our equality.

The assumption of goodwill is important, but it may seem difficult to imagine feeling respect for people who are currently arrogant or rude. Some behavior is downright unpleasant and disgusting! Well here’s the secret: we do not have to have respect for anything except for intelligence. Our attempt is not to communicate with any anxiety-based society's stereotypical personality façade on the outside, but to speak directly to the intelligence program 'real self' we know is in there unconsciously and communicate with it; to build a bridge of common ground between ourself and the other, and let intelligence flow along it both ways.

The core conditions are not simply about friendly rapport, encouragement or listening, or being warm and supportive. They are not about problem-solving, advising, analysis, or interpretation. They are a powerful program that enables interaction. Interaction is capable of overrunning anxiety programs, as long as we can maintain the state of mind and behavior based on the core conditions. Again, we must remember that it is ourselves we are improving here; we are not here to change others or their behavior –that’s up to them. What we are learning is how to adapt to stress by interacting in ways that reduce anxious states, help prevent anxiety and promote conflict resolution.

Organisms who adapt will survive and thrive. Those who fail to adapt to stress or reduce anxiety will (and do) suffer its ills. We are using interaction as an adaptation strategy, because that’s what biology uses. Creatures whose biology doesn’t interact healthily with their environment and circumstances die out, not least because incongruity plays havoc with the immune system (again dependent on that all-important brain chemistry).

What we are doing changes what we are feeling, and this in turn changes how the world appears. When practising the core conditions, our own mood improves and we inspire better and friendlier responses in our personal interactions. This feedback in its turn boosts our self esteem, anxiety reduces, we are able to think more clearly and confidently, we pay attention where it matters, and do not get distracted by things that don't really matter. We perform competently and with minimal error. We can understand things more easily and learn things faster. This makes every task easier and saves energy too. The more we practise interaction, the faster and more accurate we become, because we are working with biology and not against it. We have “congruity”.

If we use the core conditions for interaction it becomes possible to both predict and beneficially modulate outcomes via our own behavior. Programs have to respond to programs. Some of us might have more difficulty interacting than others. However, regardless of our starting conditions interaction is our next best move. The core conditions set up congruity by assuming that everyone's intelligence is striving to fulfil its potential, and when allowed to operate will result in the development of a good, healthy person; the real self. We interact with that intelligence; not with any surface behavior that may be trying to get in the way.

What Happens if Things go Wrong?

A multitude of problems await those who, in growing to physical maturity fail to master emotional and behavioral control; from depression to a life of violence to eating disorders and dementia.[107] Our emotional and cultural skills are what keep our lives on track; abilities such as motivating ourselves and persisting in the face of frustrations, controlling ourselves and delaying gratification, regulating our own moods and preventing anxiety from swamping our ability to think, empathizing and predicting, communicating clearly and making good decisions. While those who are emotionally adept -who know themselves and direct their emotions well, read and deal effectively with others' emotions- are at an advantage in every walk of life; whether love, friendship and intimate relationships, focusing our own creativity, or grasping the unspoken 'politeness' rules that govern success in cultural situations, others who are not in control of their emotional lives fight endless, exhausting inner conflicts that sabotage their ability for focused work, strong relationships, and clear thought.

How we get hijacked by viral behaviors

We've almost certainly all (at some point in our lives) had the baffling experience of anxiety overwhelming all rationality. What usually results is that a viral program jumps in and runs automatically. Under anxiety, our real selves can be impaired to a point where viral programs take over whether we like it or not. We lose free will and have no control over our own behavior. Irrational, dysfunctional, immature behaviors then appear. An individual in this situation often says, “I knew what I was doing was dodgy, but somehow I couldn't help myself”.

Intermediate NH is about learning how to help ourselves. Think back to the last time you 'lost it' or got snapback; either descending into depression and despair, or 'blowing up' at someone in intolerance, impatience or just sheer frustration at how stupid people and situations can sometimes be. Maybe when in either state we said some pretty dumb things and/or did things that now seem foolish, irrational and puerile. Self-righteous indignance, artery-busting anger, guilt or shame (and often a period of poor health) may well have followed, yet these experiences didn't seem to break us out of doing it again. If this describes your own behavior in the past, fear not -there is a way off the sentiment roundabout.

We have all the information at this stage of NH to understand why and how sentiment 'hijacking' of our emotional networks happens. Sentiment hijackings involve three dynamics we have looked at -incongruous input (triggering of the amy with incongruous associations); wrongly-weighted memories; and shutdown of frontal lobe access (with loss of half the CPU).


Incongruous input

When we have low stress tolerance, stressors outpace our ability to adapt, and the Amy prompts 'protection mode' in response to high cortisol. Every event is then biased with a danger weighting, and when sentiment takes over the amy responds to what it thinks is going on, not knowing it's divorced from access to reality, and behaves accordingly with a biased, threat-prejudiced view of reality. Projection is rife; concern will be interpreted as jealousy, confidence as arrogance (or the other way round), and prudence as greed, and so on. Mutual misunderstanding cannot fail to follow. Incongruous association and misunderstanding due to wrong input are best addressed through Interactional Analysis, which we'll discuss in the NHA guide below.


Wrongly weighted memories

Fired by cortisol, the very same neurochemical signals that prime the body to fight or run in healthy life and real danger (NE and epinephrine) also weight the memory of events with special potency -we are designed to remember dangerous things very well.[108] And memories weighted by sentiment will form incongruous guides to the present. When we can't access reality for input, these memories form the background information for what to do, and so we repeat mistakes due to simply seeing no other options.

With incompatible memory-weighting, the conscious mind can hold quite different opinions to the unconscious mind. We need N3 communicating with N4 for that sense of perspective and context which tells us that a deadly snake on TV is quite different from one in our living room, and that a deadly threat in real life is quite different from a simulated threat such as we are experiencing now. This particular problem -which can contribute to PTSD type disorders and phobic fears, is dealt with very well using co counseling, which we'll discuss in the NHA guide below.


Cutting off frontal lobes

The Amy's extensive neural connections allow it to capture and drive most of the rest of the brain, and also to divert prefrontal blood flow; cutting off the nets we need for rationality and judgment and directing blood to body muscle and skeletal networks that prompt us to run away or hit things. We know that the 'low road' wiring allows the Amy to kick in this response in about 12 milliseconds, long before the input even has time to get to frontal lobes (the high road route via thalamus-neocortex-amygdala takes about twice as long -by which time it's been cut off).

This is all in the service of our survival in genuine emergencies, but when it kicks in inappropriately, basically the rear end of the brain is separated from the neocortex. When sentiment usurps rear networks, actions and reactions are performed without any conscious, cognitive control at all. Sentiment can initiate behavioral viruses which we can run ('act out') without quite realizing why we do so because the 'low road' shortcut via thalamus and amygdala completely bypasses the neocortex; often memories, associations and habits that we were not even previously aware of suddenly spring up.

The system's 'control panel' for the amy's signals relies on N3-N4-N6 communication to supply perspective, but in anxiety, these networks can't talk to each other. Our CPU is crucial in mind function not just for fine tuning emotion, it is essential for navigating us through the decisions that matter most in life and in simply allowing us to think clearly. In good health these connections in a developed brain should govern our emotional responses and memory weighting from the start; taking in and making sense of what is being perceived. When the CPU connects unconscious knowledge with conscious awareness, a cascading series of circuits registers and analyzes the information, comprehends it, and via N4, orchestrates our interaction. If the interaction requires an emotional response, the CPU dictates it, working directly with the Amy and other appropriate networks.

This progression, which allows for emotional regulation and congruous memory-weighting, should be our standard response, with the important exception of real life emergencies. When an emotion is triggered in a healthy mind, within seconds the CPU performs a risk/benefit ratio analysis of a selection of possible interactions and predicts probability outcomes. Hence the ability of anxiety to disrupt thinking itself. N6 processes working memory; the capacity that holds in mind the data essential for completing a given task or problem.[109] That is why when we are anxious we say we “Just can't think straight” -and why continual anxiety creates deficits in out intellectual abilities, crippling the capacity to learn and destroying neurons.

Researchers have made careful studies of just what is impaired in damage to prefrontal wiring. Our decision-making is terminally flawed -and yet we show no deterioration at all in IQ or any cognitive ability. Despite the intact IQ, we make disastrous choices in work and our personal lives, and can even obsess endlessly over a decision so simple as when to make an appointment.[110] As the meeting-point between unconscious knowledge and conscious awareness, N3-N6 is our crucial gateway to congruous association. With the CPU cut in half, whatever the conscious mind mulls over no longer receives relevant weighting from rear nets -everything takes on a gray neutrality, reality confronts us with an unwieldy array of choices and our unconscious knowledge is what gives input meaning and how we do in life depends on both conscious and unconscious awareness working together -they are designed to be equal partners in mental life; and there should be no discrepancy between reason and feeling. The old paradigm of intelligence was society's ideal of reason divorced from emotion -reflecting the state of our dislocated selves, The new paradigm makes it clear we need the synchrony of both working together for powerful intelligence.[107]

We can best address the 'cutoff' erroneous response by using 'anti-virus' techniques which we'll discuss in the NHA guide below.


Profile of a system under attack

Since real emotion and interaction move us through clear developmental stages in healthy relationships, for example embodiment, modeling, sync and bonding, what happens instead when a viral program is running? This section explores this question.


1 embodiment vs 'control over'

With sufficient interaction we can achieve embodiment, as discussed above; becoming so familiar that we share a body schema with another system and access an extra mode of operation -we can now, if we wish to, operate smoothly as a unit, as well as individually (different contexts will require different modes.) Or at least, this is what is supposed to happen. We can only embody something if we understand the real relationship between us, in which nothing is dominant and we are not here to 'control' anything or anyone but to adapt ourselves. Embodiment brings out the best in both parties, but it's only possible when anxiety is low. It's based on a relationship of equality and cooperation, and if that is absent it can't happen. In anxiety-based relationships, sentiment shows up in the confident person as possessiveness and coercion. In those with lower self esteem, it shows up as clinginess and fear of loss (usually not so much loss of the partner, as long as they are replaced by another -tmore of the loss of social status associated with “being in a relationship”.)

Many people live their whole lives terrified of what others will think of them if they do or do not conform to society's or their friends' expectations. We cannot embody anything or anyone, we cannot even interact, if we are not our real selves in the first place. Biology's expectations (system requirements) must be met or it will not function as we desire. As far as biology's concerned, a human can only have one director and it should be themselves. Those who seek to control others -including children- either through threats, coercion or deceit 'for their own good', or turn every conversation into a row are not mature enough to form stable close relationships, as this is action against a person rather than interaction with them. It's about as effective as hitting a computer -except the computer won't end up thinking we're an asshole. Helpless dependents who seek a replacement parent, servant or nursemaid and who sulk, posture, stonewall, whinge etc are also not mature enough to form stable long term relationships. This is reaction against a person and not interaction with them.


2 modeling vs copying

Modeling is the third part of the learning cycle, the stage that puts the 'M' in COMP VC. That's not its only job, but it's a fairly important one. Modeling accomplishes making a model in N3 and a response pattern in neurochemistry on the inside, while we model the behavior on the outside.

Physical behavior has to match up with emotional state/brain chemistry AND the unconscious model, and healthy brains do achieve this automatically. We can however speed the process up and augment it by knowing these essential ingredients and providing them at the right times. Good modeling always includes all three ingredients; a physical signal, a mental signal that corresponds, and a chemical packet to match. Thus biology models biology, and all the rest (including the way we feel about each other and how we behave and what gets constructed in our inner model) just follows. As we mature, we're supposed to achieve volitional autonomous control over much of it, but many don't.

Modeling is designed so that we can learn beneficial behaviors from each other and is part of cultural communication. But how sad is the dude who pretends to be a vegetarian, religious, monogamous, or interested in golf because someone they are attracted to is doing these things? We like people more when they mimic us. But only up to a point. If mimicry becomes too obvious, it can backfire, becoming mockery instead. In ordinary conversation, body language assists bonding by moving the same body part as the other person at the same time, but not in exactly the same way (to do so is sinister).[111]

In modeling, unless we are learning a specific procedure from a master of the art, we do not literally copy someone's movements in front of them. Nor do we suddenly inherit their likes and dislikes because we happen to be sleeping with them. It's very rare that the exact same diet or exercise pattern, for example, is beneficial to two people, as we are all different. If two people meet and they are both already vegetarians, fair enough. If one person decides to try out another's diet to see if it suits them better than their current one, fair enough. Otherwise, simply pretending to be something we're not is 'copycat' style lying, and it causes anxiety. The other person's unconscious mind is well aware of it too, and what we are really showing them is that we're not going to be honest with them because we're afraid of losing them, and that matters more to us than giving them genuine respect.

It's just as irritating to our unconscious as it was when we were kids and some idiot kid started repeating everything we say just to annoy us, or when we're an adult and someone mindlessly agrees with everything we say just to get into our wallet and/or pants. Both are appallingly offensive. A classic habit of 'copycat' that haunts relationships based on anxiety happens when someone says, 'I love you', and the other person feels automatically obliged to say it back, regardless of what they are feeling. But without the congruous associated unconscious signals, biology knows it's as empty of meaning as the words of the child repeating whatever we say. Once again, this is not being our real self, not being honest and not interacting, but reacting.

Lack of interaction and bonding creates difficulties empathizing. There is compelling evidence that mirror neurons are a product of sensorimotor experience, and not an innate endowment.[112] Without that sensorimotor experience, in nonuse the mirror neuron system is likely to be sparse. When empathy is poor in wronguse, sentiment steps in with sympathy. Sympathy implies the observer is in some way superior to the observed, which is pure arrogance. Sympathy says: “I feel sorry for you, poor helpless you, look what a kind person I am to those inferior to me, whom I pity”.

Sentiments are the synthetic feelings of society's ideal self, and sympathy is as offensive to the unconscious of another person as any other sort of patronizing fake behavior. Invoking sympathy in people with the poignant artificial tears of a child actor and some minor-key violin music, for example, makes them give money to charities; the more publicly, the better. Privately they never give a second thought to suffering children until they're confronted with the issue in public, and feel a need to “do something that shows I'm an ideal person in society's eyes...and of course that I can afford it”. This is reaction, based on anxiety about what others think of us, or what we think we 'should' be like, programmed in by conditional respect.

Empathy says: “That situation sucks, and 'charities' are making a profit out of it. No more buying cash crops from places with famine for me!” In a real life case for one of our students, empathy said: “That situation sucks. I'm gonna fly out there and help these dudes right now.” This is interaction.


3 emotion vs sentiment

The last century has seen a steady increase in emotional ineptitude, lack of self direction and growing dysfunction in relationships, families, communities, and cultures. Aggression, paranoia and despair abound and people take on a 'zombie' look; from the kid left staring at TV for a babysitter, to the faces of the prisoners at school and the slaves at work, to the couple next door yelling out the script of a row from last nights soap opera, to the old people discarded into 'care' from paid strangers who don't give a crap about them but would very much like an intimate relationship with their bank accounts.

It's like people are unknowingly possessed, by mindless twits, apart from a small minority who happen to believe they deserve better and would like to be in control of their own minds, thankyou very much. Outside the ranks of these who are still awake, a spreading emotional malaise shows in the rise of mental disorders, depression and suicide in these societies, especially in children. But the last decade, despite its frantic bias towards bad news, has also seen an unparalleled increase of scientific studies of emotion. They have made visible for the first time in our history what brain networks are doing when we think, feel, imagine and dream. It is this information that helps us understand how the networks for emotion can be used for better or worse.[107]

To some extent we have mapped the human emotional landscape, and it not only offers a challenge to those who are stuck in the old paradigm, narrow definition of intelligence as 'IQ' that is fixed and cannot be changed; it also raises the question, “What CAN we change that will help ourselves and our children fare better in life?” The answer, according to both Goleman [107] and Rogers, is to develop and employ emotional intelligence, which includes self control, empathy, respect, honesty (including with ourselves), persistence and motivation; all those things humans once used to be able to pick up automatically from our culture. In other words to employ the core conditions and interact. But that's about changing the direction of our own behavior; or 'output control'. What about the receptive side of the story -recognizing sentiments, detecting sentiments in others and ourselves and learning how to avert them? Input control is limited if we don't know what dangers to avoid.

We should already be well-practiced in awareness and use of genuine emotions following previous tutorials. Having done things in the right order, we can now proceed to some useful ways for recognizing and averting sentiments. You'll notice from the emotion/sentiment comparisons in previous tutorials that there are two types of sentiment, associated in some ways with wronguse (sensory overload) and nonuse (sensory deprivation). These habits change our chemistry in ways that push us out of the green zone for healthy interaction, but they push us in different ways; opposite ways. We now need to know more about the difference in chemistry, mood and behaviors associated with these two different types of sentiment.

Both wronguse and nonuse tend to go hand in hand with overproduction of cortisol, but what happens from there depends on various factors; including circumstances, our current chemistry and which networks and programs we habitually use the most.

Our ontology or world view and our attitude have a strong effect on our neurochemistry (and we'll discuss this at length in tutorial 11) because our world view is reflected in what we believe is appropriate behavior. The most important affective factors though, are chemical and behavioral.


The terms introversion and extraversion (also spelled 'extroversion') were first popularized by Carl Jung [113] although both current popular understanding and mainstream psychological usage differ from his original intent. Jung's view was that in good health everyone has both healthy extraverted behaviors and healthy introverted behaviors. Our more extraverted behaviors tend to be manifested in explicit, outgoing, talkative, energetic, public overt behavior and concentration of interest on external reality (the outside world and other people);[114] whereas our introverted behaviors are manifested in our more implicit, thoughtful, quiet, covert, private reserved behaviors, with more subjective focus on our inner experience and activity.[115] Virtually all comprehensive models of personality include these concepts in various forms.[116]

In mainstream psychology and popular belief though, extraversion and introversion are typically viewed as a single scale implying 'either/or', and Jung's background theory is largely ignored. Thus, to be high in one it is necessary to be low in the other, and we are assessed as being permanently stuck in one mode only. This view does not correlate with either experience or research findings. A person who acts introverted in one scenario may act extraverted in another, and people can learn to act "against type" in certain situations. In fact, Jung's theory states that when a primary function is extraverted, the secondary function is always introverted (and vice versa).[113]

We have discussed in previous tutorials why there are no personality 'types' or 'traits', because all people behave differently in different situations AND change over time. Most people use a mixture of their most developed networks throughout the day, (and practicing neurohackers probably use all of them and are subject to faster -sometimes much faster- change, so we should bear that in mind.) What determines our 'extro' or 'introverted' mode is affected by our neurochemistry ambient. Broader attributes of behaviors like 'stretch/relax' and 'extro/intro' are modulated by 'whole brain' neurotransmitters, ANS neurotransmitters and CPU transmitters as well as the 'local' chemistry of each particular network involved.

'Whole brain' transmitters are Glutamate and GABA.

ANS transmitters are NE and ACh.

CPU transmitters are Oxytocin, Cortisol, Epinephrins and Substance P.


Each of these provides 'stretch' or 'relax' adjustment to behavior-modulating transmitters within networks, giving polarity to emotional congruity. Glutamate, Norepinephrine, Cortisol and Substance P modulate to favor 'stretching' exciting, arousing, expressive situations; and GABA, Acetylcholine, Oxytocin and Endorphins modulate to favor relaxed, focused, attentive, receptive situations. This modulates healthy behavior and determines extro- or introverted mode, regardless of the emotion or whether the behavior is for benefit or for avoiding danger. Both modes are needed for growth and learning.

In healthy use, each network modulates two emotions with one main transmitter, for example N1 uses serotonin to modulate both happiness and disgust. In every network's case, one of the healthy emotions is in the service of taking advantage of benefits and the other is in the service of protection from danger, for example comfort/pleasure is in the service of exploiting benefit and disgust is in the service of avoiding danger. (These are sometimes categorized as 'positive' or 'negative' emotions but we prefer to look on healthy emotion as all beneficial and avoid any negative associations.) We have already looked at the correlations between these healthy emotions and vulnerability to specific sentiments. (If you can't remember, look up the table from tutorial 9, it may be in your Captain's Log already) and we'll be extrapolating on that later in this tutorial.

Once we've gotten into bad habits of thought and behavior and slipped out of the green zone, we can get stuck in sentiment, and this knowledge of emotional neurochemistry and its links to our attitudes & behaviors can give us clues for predicting which type of sentiment we or someone else may get stuck in -and most importantly, which direction to go/which transmitters may be deficient or overproducing; in order to get back into the green zone.

It isn't possible for most of those who live in western-type societies to avoid sentiment because it's all around us -every advertisement is designed to invoke it, because items with stronger weighting get remembered. But we can use input control. We can step out of the onslaught of mean-spirited sentiment and make a conscious decision to ignore it, for example if you watch TV, start muting and ignoring the adverts. Better still, turn off the TV. We can't turn off or get rid of other people of course, although we can choose whom we spend our time with and what places we choose to hang out. But this tutorial is about interaction; about the times when we are right in the middle of it all where in most people sentiments are running amok and we have to engineer useful outcomes. Therefore there are lots of tips for spotting sentiment in the hacks/exercises section of this tutorial, plus the rest of this section will give us a broader view of what sentiments are and how to recognize them.


4 bonding vs adherence

Bonding can only take place between our real selves. As long as we're being ourselves, it's very easy for bonding to begin; in fact, in healthy circumstances it's difficult to stop it. Even minimally instantiated relationships can lead people to experience common psychological and physiological states.[117]

Our developing brain mirrors and reflects the emotional-sensory environment provided by its primary relationships, the first being with our first carer. Bonding and nurturing, or their absence, structures the brain to interpret the world and its relationships as 'likely to be' peaceful, pleasurable and loving -or hostile, painful and violent; depending on love or anxiety experienced in early relationships; genes switch on or off and the brain adapts itself accordingly. If all is well, development proceeds in growth mode; if all is not well, protection mode takes over, a state in which very little growth can take place. Our experiences of pain and pleasure 'prepare' the adaptable brain to expect love or violence. Complex, dense networks are produced by good input for sensory stimulation in growth mode; and impoverished, sparse networks by sensory deprivation in protection mode. These two sensory processes shape two different inner models -the congruous model or the incongruous model. In the former, the pace of development continues to increase; in the latter, it continues to slow down.

When all is well, and our carer provides the pleasurable stimulation and emotional nurturing the system needs to get online, the requirements for bonding are met and our development is boosted by it. But what happens when we can't bond due to anxiety (which prevents or destroys the chemistry that makes bonding possible)? The absence of bonding means impoverished input and developmental neglect. We should be able to make new types of bonds with every developmental stage, and failure to bond at all stages leaves us stuck at our current stage. Many of us are still able to make some bonds with others at some point in our development, and so move on a stage or two, but in comparison with the securely bonded person we will, developmentally, have to try harder to keep up.

Lack of bonding through appropriate input neglect is often supplemented by wrong input, which compounds the problem. Although wrong input protects for a while against some degradation, it carries the risk of burnout (which also leads to degradation). In one sense it buys us time, in another it wastes it. Either way, healthy development is in stasis for as long as we remain in protection mode.

Bonding is the way we shift from one stage of development to another. Biology expects this to happen at birth and roughly every four years after that until at least our late teens, and if it doesn't, development will be delayed, at first often by months as the system works by itself to reduce the stress hormones that were necessary for birth. Until biology gets the signals for a successful bond, its main priority will be to continue to try to reduce that anxiety by making one; if necessary for the rest of our lives.

At birth, our first stage of development is almost complete. The intelligence program is ready and waiting only for the appropriate input signals to process, that enable it to run stage two. The 'appropriate input' for bonding is another human being interacting with us, and if that isn't available the system scans for whatever input IS available and goes to work on that, because it must find some way to reduce anxiety or it won't survive. Here is where the problem of wrong input begins; because all that is usually available to an unbonded person who lacks physical nurturing are material objects. Physical stimulus comes only from these.

This is the first 'rule' such an infant mind learns: Stress reduction only comes from material objects, and because they are so limited in their response, such reduction is temporary at best. A system that is designed for processing multisensory, complex congruously-associated parallel input is being fed sparse bits of disjointed, meaningless code.

The mind is forming no concept of pleasure associated with human contact -in fact most of its human contact is deeply frustrating because it always feels as though something is meant to happen, but doesn't. Relationships with living people are becoming associated with more anxiety, and mild relief comes only from the old familiar material objects. The results of this early misprogramming are apparent all around us in failing human relationships, the new god 'money', and, instead of bonding, obsessive-compulsive adherence to material objects.

The only way such a person can approach personal relations is to treat the other person as an object which can then be manipulated for anxiety-reduction, or behave like an object themselves, because objects do not make them anxious. They adhere to a partner as 'my property', 'my pet', or 'my ideal' instead of bonding. People show each other off to friends like they would a new car or suit. Domination, dependence and fear of loss hallmark such relationships. People adhere to domestic animals in much the same way, and also to places, groups and belongings. Embodiment can take place in these conditions, but bonding cannot.

The anxiety-reducing potential of objects is very limited because most objects don't interact. The data about them is processed in hours or days and new objects for anxiety reduction must be sought and bought all the time. Even an object as complex as a person who will have sex with us only keeps us interested for between two and four years (average time of relationship failure when based on sentiment).

Longer duration of close relationships (of any kind) is significantly associated with lower rates of depression, suicidal behavior and substance abuse/dependence.[118] The finding that increasing close-relationship duration is associated with lower rates of mental health problems suggests that individuals who are identified as high risk for developing such problems or who have suffered them before, may particularly benefit from interaction to improve the stability and duration of their relationships. Michel Odent, primal birth researcher, recently described how we must rehumanize and deindustrialize birth, allowing the biological process to unfold, or suffer a global diminished capacity to love. It is our understanding that this process of rehumanizing should be applied to the whole of human life.[119]


5 Congruity vs Incongruity

Incongruity (sometimes incongruity) is the term in personality theory for a mental state in which a person is unable to interact in enlightened self interest due to anxiety. Their behavior is out of alignment with their biology, and their unconscious mind is often out of alignment (out of sync) with their conscious awareness. Each individual's real self, if nurtured with appropriate input, will grow and change in positive ways. When either wronguse or nonuse occurs, an individual's real self and their ideas about how they 'should' behave get out of sync; they are incongruous and 'uncoupled'.

There will be fundamental discrepancies between actual reality and their perceived reality; for example, having a morbid fear of something when there is no actual danger and no real evidence of danger, is incongruity. Hallucination due to illness is incongruity. A conflict between our biological instincts and society’s rules is incongruity. Incongruity simply means that what is going on in the real world and what the person (or the society) thinks is going on do not align.

Currently we have a society (and more societies all the time as the dysfunction spreads) in which a breakdown of personal relations is coupled with obsessive-compulsive adherence to more and more material things. The population spends its life in search of what bonding is designed to give: a safe, nurturing context in which to develop (a matrix). Intelligence can never develop as intended until we satisfy this first requirement (and that's exactly what basic NH does -sets up a matrix). Without that, all intellectual ability, no matter what it claims to be doing or believes it's doing, will be used in search of that matrix and getting enough input for the next stage.

Everyone is frantically doing what they believe will create a matrix, but society is a context like THE Matrix (movie); a made-up virtual reality where we seek endlessly to buy back the conditions for development that it works to prevent us accessing; replacing them with products and services. We are doing it “when we go to work, when we go to church, when we pay our taxes”. [refs morpheus] Whenever we try to associate our real self with the illogical set of assumptions, opinions, beliefs, threats and expectations that have been pulled over our eyes to blind us from the truth for so long that we think fiction is fact. Small wonder then that society abounds with short-term, trauma-ridden, fragmented synthetic relationships based on anxiety and sentiment and action/reaction communication.

Some classic examples of incongruity arise in sexual relationships. Neither partner is being their real self when they claim to be monogamous, but they're saying what society believes nice, decent people say, and may even genuinely consciously believe it -at the time. Months or years into the relationship, both are having sex with someone else but pretending its not happening, lying to their partners, and getting very confused about how they really feel about everyone. We have been led to believe by society that we can only have sex with one person at once (even though biology tells us clearly we are attracted to more than one person, and we unconsciously (and sometimes consciously) know it's healthier to have more varied offspring.) This is a major way in which incongruity, insecurity and fear of 'loss' leads to outright lies.

So is 'selective morality', in which one person considers it fine to have several sexual partners but not at all fine for their partners to do the same. It's obvious how much power-sharing goes on in such relationships. Where there is no equality of respect, there can be no congruity between two persons and no real interaction.

Another obvious way incongruity manifests in relationships is in people saying one thing and then doing something that communicates the opposite (for example, someone telling another person that they love them, and then hitting them in the face.) The hypocrisy in this may seem unbelievable to us, but sadly insecurity and fear of what people will think -or fear of violence- keeps such relationships together usually until someone gets seriously hurt enough to wake up and smell reality, or in worst case scenarios, never wakes up again.

Incongruity is a major cause of misunderstanding, as it warps our own perception. If someone interprets a cat as being a chicken, that’s obviously an incongruity that we'd easily notice, but it’s also incongruity when someone interprets concern as jealousy, or closeness as a threat, or sexual lust for love and so on, and in this case we may well not notice unless we are experienced enough to tell the difference.


6 Interaction vs action and reaction

When we can't interact, we are vulnerable to action and reaction, which are the two most obvious things affecting interaction and can be viewed in NH as 'viral programs'; dodgy automatic repetitive subroutines that run automatically (habitually) whenever frontal lobes are shut down by anxiety or whenever frontal networks are cut off from rear ones for other reasons, such as degradation or lack of connections. We need frontal lobes for self control.

'Action' programs are usually caused by wronguse, and 'reaction' programs more often by nonuse. Below is another page for your Captain's Log; a summary of correlations between networks, type of use (wronguse/healthy use/nonuse) and behavioral 'mode' (introversion/extraversion), typical sentiments & behaviors, and probability of action or reaction:


“The Difficult List”

N1 wronguse extro / compulsion, hedonism, sloth /ACTION

N1 wronguse extro / phobic fear /ACTION

N1 healthy use extro / happiness, pleasure, attentiveness, responsiveness/ INTERACTION

N1 healthy use intro / disgust, repulsion, withdrawal/ INTERACTION

N1 nonuse intro /unease, discomfort, crying, distress, depression, anhedonia / REACTION

N1 nonuse intro / apathy, self neglect, fatigue, numbness, dependence /REACTION


N2 wronguse extro / obsession, greed, craving, envy, addiction, aggression / ACTION

N2 wronguse extro / panic, shock, freaking out / ACTION

N2 healthy use extro / desire, interest, lust, curiosity, observation, exploration/ INTERACTION

N2 healthy use intro / alarm, concern, warning behavior/ INTERACTION

N2 nonuse intro /boredom, disinterest, ADHD / REACTION

N2 nonuse intro / temerity (no sense of danger) / REACTION


N3 wronguse extro / possessiveness, jealousy, adherence, sympathy / ACTION

N3 wronguse extro / anger, resentment, complaining, moaning / ACTION

N3 healthy use extro / empathy, friendliness, kindness, modeling, geniality/ INTERACTION

N3 healthy use intro / antipathy, defensiveness, offense/ INTERACTION

N3 nonuse intro / isolation, alienation, loneliness, /REACTION

N3 nonuse intro / timidity, fear /REACTION


N4 wronguse extro/ hysteria, delusion / ACTION

N4 wronguse extro /pomposity, megalomania, sentimental blackmail, coercion /ACTION

N4 healthy use extro / levity, cheerfulness, light-heartedness, humor/ INTERACTION

N4 healthy use intro / gravity, self control, politeness, respect, determination/ INTERACTION

N4 nonuse intro / cheerlessness, sulking / REACTION

N4 nonuse intro / irreverence, carelessness / REACTION


N5 wronguse extro / arrogance, hubris, mania, domination, criticism /ACTION

N5 wronguse extro / paranoia, superstition, prejudice, blame / ACTION

N5 healthy use extro / confidence, pride, self esteem, presentation/ INTERACTION

N5 healthy use intro / doubt, suspicion, wariness, prudence/ INTERACTION

N5 nonuse intro / shyness, guilt, shame, self doubt, low self esteem / REACTION

N5 nonuse intro / gullibility, self-delusion / REACTION


N6 wronguse extro / dysmorphia /ACTION

N6 wronguse extro /hatred / ACTION

N6 healthy use / unity, bliss, love, joy/ INTERACTION

N6 healthy use / separation, sorrow, grief/ INTERACTION

N6 nonuse intro / indifference, isolation /REACTION

N6 nonuse intro / depression / REACTION


Some of the behaviors in this list are also clinical conditions, such as paranoia and depression. They can in this context be looked on as 'extremes' of sentiment. During research, this list became fondly known as 'the difficult list'[120] not just because of its complexity, but because of its limitations due to having a massive 'gamespace' the sheer number of combinations different sentiments can run in.[121] We should therefore bear in mind that it is a rough guide only and further research will reveal more accurate categorization. Of course, there are not many people we know whose behavior could be summed up in just one of these conditions. Because we use a mixture of many networks it's rare for just one of these to be permanently dominant; more usually we see a mixture of problems in several areas, and we can also experience swapping between wronguse-related sentiments and nonuse-related ones in the same network!

There's no need to learn and memorize all these different types of sentiment, because there's a much easier way to classify sentiments which we'll include later in this tutorial. But we can use this list for reference to assess what sort of sentiment problems we are likely to be up against if times get tough. The list works both ways round: we can either look up behaviors we observe are taking place and find out which networks are likely to be having problems, or we can look for a known set of network strengths and weaknesses and assess what sort of sentiments might trouble the owner of that brain.

For example if we know “this brain is a front-loader, N5-dominant, N4 quite strong, most other networks average”, we can predict that the owner of said brain may be susceptible to N5 and N4 wronguse sentiments when in extro mode and N5/N4 nonuse sentiments when in intro mode. Conversely if someone is experiencing a lot of possessiveness, jealousy, and adherence when in extrovert mode and isolation, alienation and loneliness when in introvert mode, we know they are likely to be having problems specific to N3 due to both wronguse and nonuse.

Knowing this we can direct and fine tune our hacking to focus on problem networks. Once again we must remember that these are behavioral programs; not types of people or traits of people. A species' 'type' means its genetic branch, and (whilst acknowledging the possibilities of AIs, aliens, or cloned Neanderthals) we Earthers are currently all the same type of people; Homo Sapiens. If in doubt, check your DNA.


Excuses, ruses and non-violent violence

“Oh give me a ruse to excuse my excuse, and I'll procrastinate for evermore”

Gnome folk song, from “Starship” game AR


Not all action behaviors are openly aggressive, and most relationships don't feature physical violence. More regular than overt action is covert action. Here are some common examples we might have experienced:


“Temporary Compliance”, usually with procrastination, in which the sentimental person verbally complies with a request, but behaviorally delays acting on it. Temporary compliance is the most common form of covert action and sounds something like, "Oh-KAY!! I'm cooooooming!" or, “I SAID I'll do it SOON!!” (wait three weeks, nothing happens).

“Intentional Inefficiency”, in which the sentimental person complies with a request, but carries it out in an unacceptable manner. Intentional Inefficiency looks something like some dude supposedly doing the washing up who leaves all the pans. If others complain, they say, “Well I did my best!” or, “Oh I'm sorry I didn't see those.”

“Problem Escalation”, in which the sentimental person uses inaction to allow a forseeable problem to escalate and takes pleasure in the resulting anguish. People are at this level when they return a borrowed car with an empty gas tank, although they know the car owner will be late for work if they have to stop for gas.

“Covert Conscious Revenge”, in which the sentimental person makes a deliberate decision--and takes hidden action--to 'get back' at someone. This more serious level could involve stealing from a person who they believe (but have no proof) has mistreated them, sabotaging the presentation of a colleague who they feel (but have no proof) was unfairly promoted over them, or slashing the tires of a car they can't afford.

“Self-depreciation”, in which a sentimental person goes to self-destructive lengths to seek vengeance. From the drunk who pretends suicide to get back at a girlfriend who dumped them to the anorexic who starves themself or inflicts self-harm to get back at demanding parents, this behavior is one of the most pathological.


Bear in mind how action can sometimes be covert, when judging 'action' behavior from 'reaction' behavior.

It's important to realize that there are no acceptable excuses to avoid taking the responsibility for our own behavior, because a common reason for failure to change is blaming things for our condition (with the unspoken assumption that this somehow excuses us from being human). We usually blame one or more of these six things for all of our problems in relationshipsa given situation:


Our Genes (Gave us an inherited disease/tendency/appearance/ethnicity that fucked things up for us)

Our Parents (Were overprotective/neglectful/controlling/absent, and that fucked things up for us)

Specific Events or Circumstances (Particular peoples' -such as ex-partners'-behavior/growing up in the ghetto/an accident/past disaster fucked things up for us)

Society (School/work/politicians/laws/religious rules fucked things up for us)

Ourselves (We were too shy/too cold/too dumb/too closed-minded/too naïve/too stressed out, or we said or did something stupid, and that's fucked things up for us)

God (It's just our destiny/fate/karma that's fucked things up for us)


What we are missing is the truth: Anxiety has us stuck in a 'victim' attitude and it is these very beliefs that are fucking things up.

Understanding that “we are not ourselves” from time to time does not mean that we abnegate self-responsibility for what our bodies and brains get up to, or blame externals for the way we behave. “Pardon me for being rude, it was not me it was my brain” won't cut it; neither will “I was mistreated as a child” or “My genome is just susceptible”, or “my parents /school/ society/ex partner ruined my life”, or any other excuse for not getting behind the controls NOW. ANY problem from the past can be reweighted with various techniques (eg co counseling). So we begin emotion control with the attitude of “I'm the captain, and I don't want any scum, alien or otherwise, past or present, foreign or domestic, on this ship. Not on my watch.

Wimps and bullies


“I'm afraid I can't explain myself, sir. Because I am not myself, you see?”

(Lewis Carroll; Alice in Wonderland)

Our model of what it means to be 'intelligent' puts emotion in a central position for aptitudes for success; emotion can preserve our most prized relationships and sentiment can easily corrode them. The emotional or sentimental examples we see as children shape our emotional circuits, making us more or less vulnerable to viral programs. Different types of viral programs can take over different networks, and our healthiest networks are usually the best protected. We looked at the correlations between networks and viral behaviors above in 'the difficult list', but you'll be glad to know that there's a much easier model for spotting dodgy viral programs.

It's apparent from The Difficult List (and real life experience) that sentiments and behaviors come in 'sets'; for example if someone is arrogant in extro mode we might well expect rude and dominating behavior also, and if someone is fatigued and apathetic we might well expect self-neglect as an associated behavior. Probably in the past (pre-NH), we have left our emotional development to chance. With wronguse, healthy emotions/behavior-sets can get subverted into 'action' extroverted viral sentiment/behavior-sets, and with nonuse they'll be subverted into 'reaction' introverted viral sentiment/behavior-sets.

We can refer to 'action' behavior-sets as 'bully' viruses. They either make us bully other people, or we ourselves feel threatened (for example in phobic fear or paranoia).

All that people can do if bully programs are running is act against other people and their own interests (often while believing fervently that they're doing the opposite). When 'bully' programs are running we often consider ourselves superior and consequently there can be no power-sharing and no interaction -which means we can't learn very easily, communicate very well, or form stable long term relationships, until we reduce wronguse and replace the 'bully' sentiments with real emotions.

Likewise, we can refer to 'reaction' behavior sets as 'wimp' viruses. They make us feel like helpless victims or consider ourselves 'just the little people', and indulge in reaction-intro behaviors. Nonaction (unresponsiveness) and apathy are also considered to be intro-reactive behaviors. They don't directly harm other people, but they always harm ourselves, and they harm others indirectly by being a drain on resources; not the least intelligence.

Action 'bully' behaviors are easiest to spot as they usually have more external indicators in facial expression and body language; 'wimp' reactions can sometimes be harder to detect, especially if there is no distress or conscious fear (for example in alexithymia; the inability to feel emotion). It's a lot easier to spot sentiments when we categorize this way and a lot easier to relate to sentiment as a dysfunction. We all know that healthy humans are not bullies or wimps by nature, these are energy-wasting, danger-inviting behaviors, and not intelligent. This makes it clear that whenever we behave in those ways, we are not ourselves.

Everybody is basically aware of what bully or wimp behavior is, without having to remember lots of details about neurotransmitters. We probably experience some of each every day. And we also know from experience that there are different kinds of bully behavior -there's the (N2-dominant) violent loudmouth tyrant bully for example, but there's also the (N4-powered) officious snooty-nosed pompous twit bully who will lecture us on how immoral we are and send us to jail for not having regulation color shoelaces.

There are only three 'overall' outcomes to any exchange in any relationship: (a) No change, (b) Change for the better (c) change for the worse. Try as you might, you won't think of any event that has a different result. The only result that we want is change for the better, but we seem to have waived all right to self-direction in the process. All 'bully' behavior (and bully thoughts) leads to changes for the worse, and so do wimp behaviors and wimp thoughts (or at best, no change), and one tends to lead to the other as inevitably as it does in physics, unless something powerful (like intelligence) intervenes. The person who beats up their car if it won't start or thumps the computer when it won't load, blames the tools for a job badly done or the other person for failure in relationships is in an action/reaction relationship and it will all end in tears; we know it.

By comparison, an interaction is an intelligence-based, anxiety-reducing set of behaviors that leads to a change for the better. Interactions are performed not towards or away from from but between people. Interaction uses a default position of empathy, honesty and respect, and employs all the other healthy emotions and behaviors as appropriate; and we can refer to this category of behaviors as 'real'. Real (green zone) behaviors lead to successful outcomes.

Thinking this way helps remind us when we are not ourselves, because as soon as viral programs are running we are aware that we have no free will, and are being dragged around must behave like sentiment's puppets. Often, habits have become so ingrained we've had no chance to discover that we're designed for freedom and self control. Remember these are categories of behavior; types of viral behavioral programs we either allow to run or don't; they are NOT categories or 'traits' of people. Most people spend varying amounts of time in each behavior mode, and action/reaction programs are often thrust upon us by lack of anxiety control, lack of emotional control and lack of behavioral control. All these abilities are a part of healthy development of self control. A part of input control is self control via context control.

Our mission as neurohackers is to get behind the controls and spend as much time as possible running real behaviors and avoiding viral wimp or bully behaviors. That includes augmenting our awareness of when a viral program is affecting the system, and learning how to stop it in its tracks and render it inoperative. Methods such as interactional analysis and co counseling can help us with this, and particularly useful are anti-virus hacks. We'll discuss all three methods below in the NHA guide.



Interactional analysis practice: NASA

This is a difficult exercise and most of us get it wrong at first. Thing is, we all learn how to do interactional analysis by getting it wrong a number of times : ) and it's good to get a 'feel' for the method so that we can see how the theory applies.

Read the extract below then answer the questions that follow.


Alice is an astronaut who applied for a recent exciting mission and was disappointed when she didn't get it. In the bar that night she tells her friends.

Bob says, “Well, being realistic what did you expect? You didn't really think you would get the first high-profile mission you apply for, did you? Life is not like that. You know better than that. You may have to apply for five or even ten missions before you get on one”.

Carl says: “Chin up Alice! Rome wasn't built in a day. Maybe this will teach you not to count your shuttles before they are docked.”

Donna says: “When I went for the mission interview, I got a haircut, shined my shoes, did all the military body-language. I knew how to make a good impression. Look at you, on the other hand, in your tracksuit and shades.”

Eve says: “I don't know why you're so disappointed. There's no reason for you to act that way. So one goal didn't work out. So what? Big deal. Get over it. There'll be others. It's not worth worrying about. It's not even worth talking about. Now what do you want from the bar?”

Freddie says: “The trouble with you is you don't make a good first impression. You don't know how to appear confident. You're too fidgety, too nervous. You don't articulate. You don't look people in the eye. You don't have a good handshake. You need to work on yourself before you expect to get on the bigger missions.”

Gena says: “Oh, that is terrible. You must feel horrible. It doesn't seem fair does it? I don't know why they wouldn't want you. It's not right. You should have gotten the mission. What is wrong with these people?”

Hank the barman says: “Everything happens for the best, honey. It just wasn't meant to be. There is a reason for everything. Everything is just the way it should be. We just need to move right on past it and have faith that things will work out. It's karma; don't you give it a second thought.”



1 Who is interacting?

2 Who is being 'sorta wimpy' and probably thinking, 'well, what can we do?'?

3 Who is being a bit 'bully' and probably thinking 'life sucks, you're naïve, get over it!'?

4 If you knew Alice, what would be some good ways for you to interact in this situation?


Answers at end of tutorial

Understanding problems in relationships


There is always a hidden unconscious biological subtext to relationships, that is often imperceptible to the people involved in them, but which (if based on emotion) directs the underlying changes that hold the relationship together in the green zone, or (if based on sentiment) destroy it. Natural relationships are ones that work; where all parties involved are interacting and using real emotion.

Most of us have few decent role models for healthy relationships and no cultural guidance, plus a lot of absolute nonsense from whatever society we grow up in. With this impoverished combination, people are vulnerable to communication rifts that eventually can pull relationships apart. Such problems are more likely to occur if one or both partners have deficits in emotional development. We will take for our standard example one-to-one relationships to keep things simple here. It should be clear to us in this configuration that there are three possible combinations:

1 both partners are healthy and using emotion and interaction

2 one partner is healthy and mainly using emotion but the other is anxious and uses sentiment

3 both partners are anxious and using sentiment


We like to think of ourselves as 'both sensible' or at least, the 'sensible partner' in category 2, but in reality most failures in relationships are in category 3 with one or both persons aware of each others problems, but unaware of their own problems.


Relationships with one healthy and one dysfunctional partner

An early warning of relationships in trouble is the breakdown of core conditions, usually first noticeable in loss of respect, with sentiment arising as contempt, and behavior of rude criticism. Empathy and honesty will disappear soon after. Verbal attacks may begin. In healthy relationships, partners feel no anxiety at voicing a problem politely and respectfully, but when one partner is anxious, sentiment-invoked criticism loses any pretense to logic and becomes ad hominem (attacking the character of the other person instead of addressing the problem).

Something is going or has gone wrong and the sentimental person cannot cope with responsibility for errors or the idea that they might 'get the blame' or be shown up as a 'bad person'. Anxiety demands that the insecure one push the blame onto the other person by constantly pointing out how useless they are. The anxious person's intention is to to defame everyone elses' reputation so that their own looks more secure by comparison. Anxiety is always fighting a competition against reality. Obviously such harsh personal criticisms have a corrosive effect on alliances; unlike reasoned argument or rational complaint, because they do not make sense. If only one person is anxious, the other will be absolutely baffled trying to empathize unless they know about anxiety.

Nothing baffles and alarms the innocent intelligence like a sudden outburst of sentiment and unjustified blame, especially if we were not raised around such nonsense. To the unconscious, it is as though someone we thought we knew (and really care about) has gone suddenly mad, and the 'loony alert' warning lights go on inside the unconscious. Even though this illogical exchange only took a moment, from that moment on our unconscious begins to gently separate the bonds between us 'in case' the insanity returns. We do this to protect ourselves whenever we predict the possibility of separation (for example when a loved one is terminally ill.) By preparing ourselves for possible separation, we reduce the impact of shock (although not necessarily the grief) if it happens.

Even more damaging to relationships are (real or imagined) facial expressions of sentiment such as scorn, sneering or contempt, like twisting the mouth, pursing the lips or rolling the eyes. If a partner shows these signs in most conversations, it is a clear sign that the relationship will end within the next four years. The more intense and prolonged, the sooner it will end.

The unconscious knows very well that there are no such things as 'character traits'. It knows we have not deliberately tried to harm anyone, and have no intent to; as that would be stupid. Consequently attacks upon our character are unjustified, as well as illogical. Saying “You're a selfish person” is a bit like saying, “X is the square root of a pork chop”. The unconscious knows there is NO SUCH THING as a selfish person or the square root of a pork chop. Nothing makes sense, as input is incongruous.

Believing in contextual or individual blame for behaviors is a manifestation of the Fundamental Attribution Error (FAE). The FAE is an attempted allocation of blame instead of open assessment of facts; either blaming the context or the individual for problems which arise in the breakdown of interaction between the two. It's a habit based on false beliefs, superstition, prejudice and unjustified assumption, and often it's a habit that's copied from other people. The real problem, which fails to be noticed, is that interaction has broken down.

If the incident is a 'one off' we will put it down to temporary illness or exhaustion or whatever else makes sense, but the more it recurs, the more we unconsciously pursue 'closure'; separating ourselves from the source of dysfunction and confusion, and eventually end the relationship unless things take a turn for the better, as that's the most sensible thing to do. From the unconscious' point of view, the person we were close to died when sentiment and dysfunctional behavior took over, and there is sometimes very little left of the person we once knew.

A great advantage of healthy intelligence is that the mind can detect sentiment and insincerity in an instant, functioning well in telling us whom to be wary of, who to hang out with, who's in distress, who's being friendly and so on. This unconscious processing is like our radar for benefit and danger and is essential for rapid adaptation. But responses that spring from the synchrony of conscious and unconscious in a healthy emotional mind carry a particularly powerful certainty; a by-product of a straightforward, simple way of looking at things that can be absolutely bewildering to those stuck in sentiment.

This can however still be turned into a healthy relationship if the person suffering sentiment (a) knows their behavior is dysfunctional, (b) wants to improve and (c) takes actual practical steps to do so.


Relationships with both partners dysfunctional

If both partners are anxious things get much worse, as action leads to reaction or more action and both partners begin a cascade of yelling at each other (or one yells, the other cries or sulks) in terms that are probably in memory from some soap opera they watched the day before, or something they heard other anxious people say in similar circumstances. Communication breaks down and turns into a playground competition to say the most hurtful things to each other and 'win' against the enemy, all the while not realizing the enemy is anxiety (source attribution error). It's embarrassing to see grown people behave in these ways, but we'll have to tolerate it in our midst whenever in mainstream society (another good reason not to raise a family there). Bonds are long broken but neither partner dares to leave for fear of what others will think or for fear of being left or seen as 'unwanted'. Such relationships are not really relationships at all, they are dysfunctional dependencies; traps that seem like they can only be exchanged for an even worse trap -abandonment.

The difference between interactive argument and 'rowing' are simple. In interactive argument, the goal is the truth, the methods are synthesis and analysis. A person states specifically what is disturbing them, for example, “When you forgot to pick me up at the station as we'd arranged, I felt concerned something was wrong.” This is an expression of honesty, it's neither aggressive nor criticizing.

In rowing, a person in anxiety launches an attack on anothers character: “You're such a selfish asshole! I can't trust you to do anything right!” This kind of aggressive action leaves the person on the receiving end feeling unjustly assaulted and offended -which, if they are anxious too, is much more likely to lead to an action/reaction response. Habitual criticism and contempt are danger signs because they indicate that someone who is supposed to be a close ally has made a silent judgment for the worse about their partner. In his or her thoughts, the partner is becoming the subject of constant condemnation. Such a sentimental mode leads to regular attacking actions that make the partner on the receiving end defensive and prompts reaction.

Sulking or stonewalling is the ultimate defense. One partner in effect goes blank, withdrawing from communication with a stony expression and unresponsive silence, like someone badly retarded. They don't see this as dysfunctional because in the dysfunctional state it makes some kind of imaginary 'vengeful' sense to pretend to be a vegetable. This sort of behavior shows up in relationships that are in deep trouble, because it prevents all hope of healthy interaction. Thoughts of being an innocent victim or of righteous indignation are typical in such times.

In healthy relationships, both partners always see each other in the best light; that is to say, if something unexpected happens, they will interpret the behavior of their partner as sensible and intelligent. Once each partner starts seeing the worst (pessimistically prejudiced) interpretation of the others' every move, any acts of kindness are ignored or discounted and only the misunderstandings and supposed failings are remembered; building up a database of incongruous information that is ruminated on and dredged up during every row. All the while both partners are trying to avoid what the unconscious is wondering, -if this dude is so terrible, how come I was so stupid as to be attracted to them in the first place? Looking at that question might imply some degree of self-responsibility for relationship problems, and that's the last thing anxiety wants.

The prejudiced view taken by both partners is that the partner is 'inherently flawed' in a way that cannot change while we ourselves are quite a reasonable person. The most destructive of these violent thoughts are those fueled by sentiments such as possessiveness and jealousy, and are based on an incongruous ontology (believing, through anxiety-based societal rules, a set of associated concepts that are not true in real life); such belief-sets prompt incompetent behavioral responses and are used as justification for pathological sentiment, which we'll discuss in T11.

The ongoing effect of these dysfunctional attitudes is to create chronic anxiety and apparent incessant crisis, since they trigger further sentiment and make it ever harder to recover from ongoing confusion and personal distress. Neither partner's perception or memory is functioning as intended at this stage, harmless comments are seen in a sinister light when both partners are convinced the other is trying to pick a fight, and it's almost impossible to think clearly. Everything slips into habitual automatic sentiment-exchanges. Anxiety is so high, perspective so narrow, and thinking so confused that there is no hope of empathy or reason.

Of course, all people disagree, and disagreement and rational argument are a healthy part of interaction. Genuine argument is a process designed for us to help each other discover the truth, where both partners oppose and debate, each stating their reasons and proof for the point of view they hold, and both joining in to challenge both points of view. The problems begin when we replace sensible argument with rowing (automatic exchange of sentiment-triggers.) This is perhaps the point of no return for relationships. Partners think the worst of each other most of the time, reading everything they do in a negative light. Small issues are taken far too seriously, grievances simmer, and important issues are ignored. Anxiety is present continually, and the next step is usually an unpleasant and melodramatic separation in which each partner's goal is to make the other look like the culprit for the relationship failure (to maintain their own social status). Partners separate and tell their friends what an asshole each other is.


Developing/enhancing emotional control

If we don't have good emotional stability, it's unwise to binge on anything that could throw our neurotransmission or behavior further out of balance. Anxiety, interrupted sleep, processed food, sugar and alcohol are the worst threats to emotional stability, so we should take our excesses in moderation. If we KNOW some things 'bring out the sentiment' in us, we should be sensible enough not to go there; just like we don't deliberately eat stuff we know will give us stomach ache, diarrhea, and make us sick.

We are taking it for granted that students will be aware of anxiety and have pretty well balanced rear networks by this stage. The following are other areas we can work on that can all improve emotional skills. In this order:

N3: Empathy, intuition

N4: Managing feelings, adapting to stressors, cooperation

N5: Self awareness, personal decision-making, communication, self-disclosure, personal responsibility, confidence

N6: Conflict resolution


There were several old-fashioned terms for the body of knowledge that emotional abilities represent: “Having Good Character”; “Being a Lady/Gentleman”; “Rectitude”; and “Propriety”. In modern times, the same skills have been called “emotional literacy”, in some circles those who practice them are recognized as 'Class X' because these abilities cut across all barriers of financial status, age and gender and can be learned by anyone regardless of genetics or intellectual education, indeed their presence or absence is unaffected by any of these factors.

The foundations of emotional competence are self-esteem, self-discipline and self-responsibility, including the responsibility of motivating and directing oneself, deliberately changing one's own mind, delaying gratification for greater gain, and adept use of free will for self-directed (autonomous) behavior. We are designed to be in control of ourselves; our appetites, our passions and our deeds.

In fact, at this stage in NH we've been practicing emotional control for some time -with anxiety reduction, input control and output control, so we're quite used to being the 'director' already.

Self awareness and management of our own conscious impulses is basic to emotional competency. A superb example of this is the exemplary behavior of the Apollo 13 astronauts who had to maintain awareness and emotional control in a serious crisis with an ever-rising density of CO2 in the air that they were breathing (high CO2 triggers sentiments of irritability, panic and anger.) By interacting -deliberately reminding each other of these conditions and saying out loud “We are not gonna go bouncing off the walls!”- they were able to maintain control of themselves and consequently the spacecraft, despite obviously (and usefully) feeling alarmed and very concerned.

Being able to 'put aside' distractions, relax and be receptive to information without anxiety has immense benefits in a relationship; it enables empathy, real listening, and taking another's perspective, and it breaks down stereotypes, prejudices and assumptions. Simply understanding how humans work and developing self awareness can make all the difference; when two people are mature enough to know that both have 'lost it' to anxiety during a disagreement and can say to each other, “We're not gonna go bouncing off the walls”, their relationship will most likely be both successful and long term. It doesn't matter how many times we 'lose it'; all that matters is that we are aware of it happening and can stop the virus in its tracks and take practical steps to get back to being our real selves.

If working on our own to improve emotional stability, we can use these tactics on our own behavior whenever we start to notice sentiment creeping on.

In all relationship disagreements or personal (lone) experiences that arouse sentiment, FIRST, we deal with the virus, THEN we reapproach the problem. With time, we find that the virus often WAS the problem. Anxiety often arises when we feel strongly about something, and the feeling must be dealt with before addressing the something. If necessary, postpone discussion until both parties have calmed down, but set a definite time for settlement (so that anxiety can't make us conveniently forget about it). This 'make it wait' tactic is very good for bully viruses in particular and sends a firm unconscious message about who's in charge.

We normally each need different emotional 'tweaking' to help ourselves in the long term, depending on what sort of sentiments we suffer at different times.


During 'introverted' times

it's important for us not to sidestep disagreement or misunderstanding by trying to avoid each other, but to realize that when our partner brings up some problem they are trying to resolve a difficulty not create one. We also need to realize that someone else's sentiment is not a personal attack; they have a virus, and are 'not themselves'.


When we're in extrovert mode

it's important not to short-circuit discussions through impatience and offer quick practical solutions. What's necessary is empathy, attention, and relaxed discussion. Don't be too intense in voicing complaints, it seems like an attack rather than a discussion. Complaining about something someone did, often with humor, is fine; complaints are just a clear statement that a particular behavior or event is distressing; but criticizing someone as a person or expressing contempt is extremely rude and should never be tolerated. Both parties need to recognize what gets in the way of relationships -anxiety- and face it together intelligently and preparedly.


Useful advice for all times

Never try to discuss anything while under the grip of sentiment. Agree to chill out together and then talk when we feel calmer and more objective. Stick to discussing ONE topic at a time (this is a really helpful rule) and give each partner time to state their point of view at the start. Then debate. If we catch ourselves drifting off the topic, either partner can call 'topic drift' and remind us to get back to and focus on the issue we are discussing. Write them down if anxiety is suspected of playing memory tricks.


Misunderstanding and viral cognitive bias

A cognitive bias is a pattern of deviation in perception and/or understanding that occurs in particular situations, which may sometimes lead to perceptual distortion, inaccurate judgment, illogical interpretation, or what is broadly called irrational behavior resulting in harm (an extreme example is a moth diving into a flame, a more usual example is humans misunderstanding each other and feeling 'hurt' -disgusted, alarmed, abused or offended).

Some cognitive bias is natural, helpful, and inherent; for example our natural tendencies to get away from avoid things we dislike, chase things we like, be over-optimistic about our chances and over-pessimistic about sudden surprises are all beneficially adaptive, because they lead to more effective interaction in a given context (for example not giving up under pressure), or enable faster decisions when timeliness is more valuable than accuracy (for example, when escaping up a tree). So it's important we have healthy cognitive biases in order to make any decisions at all.

Viral cognitive bias though is unhealthy; is not natural or inherent, and is usually programmed in when copying other people or at other people's instruction (for example the person who tells kids, “All 'x' people are not to be trusted” (for x insert old/ young/ black/ white/ gay/ straight/ male/ female/ muslim/ jewish/ fat/ etc.)

It may result from a number of causes on different levels including physical sparsity of neural nets, incongruous transmitter levels (eg, anxiety), fatigue, illness, distraction, false input, and lack of appropriate prior experience. Sentiment, society's 'morals', intentions, or social influence are often exacerbating factors. It can also happen between persons who don't speak each others' language very well, especially if they're anxious, which can lead to serious misunderstanding.

Western societies love cognitive bias; in fact they use it to coerce people into buying things we don't need and doing things that are bad for us, and the media hardly uses anything else; our so-called news and press is these days pretty much sales and marketing-based, wall-to-wall cognitive bias. Viral biases exploit a lack of awareness and experience (this is 'bounded' rationality; in decision-making, the rationality of individuals is limited by the information they have, the cognitive limitations of their minds, and the finite amount of time they have to make a decision).

Viral bias causes us to make false (incongruous) associations, beliefs/opinions; and/or causes inappropriate processing. Researchers have demonstrated several replicable ways in which human judgments and decisions under the influence of viral bias differs from rational choice. They explain these differences in terms of heuristics; program lines which are simple for the brain to carry out than can include systematic bias.[122] For instance the “Availability Heuristic”[123] when the ease with which something comes to mind is used to indicate how often (or how recently) it has been encountered (related to its RAM storage processing potential).


Types of bias

There are different types of bias at the individual, couple, small network and large group level.

There is a distinction between “Hot Cognition bias” (affecting motivational reasoning that can involve states of emotional arousal) and "Cold Cognition bias" (affecting information processing not requiring emotion). Obviously both can interfere with perception, memory formation and judgment.


Hot cognition example:

The 'Sunk cost fallacy' bias

Strongly affects decision making and motivation, usually not in our favor, and happens where the desirability of different options is considered and time, effort or other resources have previously been invested in a project. For examples:

“I felt ill after I ate it, but having cooked it/paid for it, it had seemed such a pity to waste it.”

“We've been together for so long, we can't split up now!”

“We've been trying to do this for ages, we can't give up now!”

“This coat is uncomfortable, but it cost so much and it's brand new, so I'll wear it anyway”.


Effectively these people are following up one mistake that has wasted resources by making another one that wastes more resources. This is related to the 'error-correction-error'.


Cold cognition examples:

Neglect of probability

Ignoring relevant information; for example someone buys a lottery ticket, or claims that something is 'good for everyone'.


Framing, or creating 'situated knowledges'

Distraction by irrelevant information; for example the 'Framing effect' where the same problem receives different responses depending on how it is described or what semantics are used). Often thrust upon us by others using a too-narrow approach and description of the situation or issue. A classic example is in 'tick the box' type questionnaires when there is no box for 'none of the above'; e.g., “What is your religion: Muslim or Hindu?”



Excessive weighting placed on an unimportant but salient feature of the problem (e.g., 'Anchoring; the common human tendency to rely too heavily on the first piece of information offered (the "anchor") when making decisions).


Main viral biases affecting individuals:

In anxious people, many biases are self-serving or self-directed; e.g.:


The 'illusion of asymmetric insight'

(whereby people perceive their knowledge of others to surpass other people's knowledge of themselves. This bias seems to be due to the false belief that observed behaviors are more revealing of others than self, while private thoughts and feelings are more revealing of the self. [124]


The 'self-serving' bias

(refers to individuals attributing their successes to internal or personal factors but attributing their failures to external or situational factors).[124]


Consistency bias & self-centered bias

A distinctive class of biases affect memory [125] such as consistency bias (underestimating change: remembering one's past attitudes and behavior as more similar to one's present attitudes than they really are), or self-centered bias (overestimating change: the anxious craving for a positive self-image leading to the inclination to overstate changes between the present and the past to make ourselves look better than we actually are).[126] These are often employed to avoid cognitive dissonance (unconscious knowledge and conscious awareness in conflict).


Cognitive biases are also related to the persistence of superstition, to large social issues such as prejudice, and they also work as a hindrance in the acceptance of scientific knowledge among the public.[127]


Main viral biases affecting relationships:

Illusory correlation

is a bias towards 'seeing' (imagining) a relationship between variables, typically people, events, or behaviors, even when no such relationship exists. This affects our judgment of how likely something is, or of whether one thing is the cause of another. Sexual attraction can fall prey to this bias (imagining that the desired person feels the same way we do, or that something they said 'meant' something it didn't.) Sometimes, 'Would you like a coffee?' really means coffee.


The 'projection' bias

(where a person consciously denies his or her own habits, attributes, thoughts, or sentiments, which are then ascribed to the outside world and usually to other people. Thus, projection involves imagining or projecting the belief that others originated those feelings.[128]


Main viral biases affecting groups

Choice shift

An example of a known (and reproducable) viral bias specific to large group relationships is the “choice shift” or “risky shift” (-after participating in a discussion group, members tend to advocate more extreme positions and call for riskier courses of action than individuals who did not participate in any such discussion.)[129]


Ingroup Bias/Outgroup bias

There are also biases in how group members may evaluate in-group (other members) or out-group people (non members); evaluating in-group as more diverse and "better" in many respects, even when such groups are arbitrarily-defined in a game, for example.[130]



The Observers Book of Bias:

The following is a summary list of the rest of the most commonly encountered cognitive biases. This will help us identify any viral habits in ourselves AND detect when we are being bullshitted, lied to, deliberately misled, or if anyone is trying to con us. -A good page for your Captain's log!


Age related bias:

the belief that persons of one age are superior or inferior to another. This is one of society's most destructive viroids that lays waste to each new generation.

Attentional bias:

the tendency to pay attention only to things that make us feel emotional and be distracted from facts or practical issues, when making judgments of a correlation or association.

Availability cascade:

a self-reinforcing process in which a collective belief gains more and more plausibility through its increasing repetition in public discourse (or "repeat something long enough and it will be believed as true"). A favorite of the media and advertizing.

Bandwagon effect:

the tendency to do (or believe) things because many other people do (or believe) the same. Related to groupthink and herd behavior. Helps to empower tyrants.

Belief Bias or Fixed Belief Bias:

is when someone's evaluation of the logical strength of an argument is biased by their initial (unproven) belief in the truth or falsity of the conclusion. A good example is the failure to accept the proof behind evolution, that the world was not flat, or that the earth went round the sun. Relationships are strongly affected by fixed beliefs such as, 'marriage is natural' or 'sex is sinful'.

Class bias:

the tendency to judge those of different financial status, form of dress, cultural behavior or type of occupation as superior or inferior to others.

Confirmation bias or 'justification bias':

is the tendency to search for or interpret only information that confirms one's preconceptions, and avoid anything that might threaten current beliefs; this is related to the concept of cognitive dissonance.

Duality bias or 'polarity bias':

the tendency to ignore probabilities and expect everything to be either/or in clear black and white with no ambiguity and no unity (for example assuming nature is 'versus' nurture, everything is 'competitive' OR 'cooperative', good OR bad, right OR wrong, smart OR stupid, introvert OR extrovert and so on). In real life most things are conglomerates of both.

Empathy gap:

the tendency to underestimate the influence, weighting or strength of feelings and/or behavior, in either oneself or others.

Essentialism or 'traitism':

categorizing people and things according to some imagined 'essential nature' or 'personality trait', in spite of variations and the proof against trait theory.

Experience bias:

the tendency to treat newbies as inferior and/or experienced/'qualified' individuals as superior.

False consensus effect:

the tendency to overestimate in claims how much other people/public opinion agrees with us. One of the media's favorite tools for manipulating opinion.

Forer effect or Barnum effect:

a gullibility in which individuals will give high accuracy ratings to descriptions of their personality and behavior that 'supposedly' are tailored specifically for them, but are in fact vague and general enough to apply to a wide range of people, such as astrology, fortune telling, graphology, homeopathy, nutritional typing, some discredited types of psychotherapy and 'trait based' personality tests.

Fundamental Attribution Error:

is the tendency for people to blame behaviors observed in others on imaginary personality traits or flaws, while ignoring the relevanve of situational influences on the same behavior; OR the other way round.

Hindsight Bias, sometimes called “Captain Hindsight” or the "I-knew-it-all-along" effect:

is the inclination to see past events as being predictable. With confabulation this turns into “I told you so!” or “I said that would happen!” even though in reality, they didn't.

Illusion of Control:

the tendency to overestimate one's influence over external events in the real world. Suffered by almost all religious and political leaders, and front loaders in 'extro' mode.

Illusion of helplessness or 'illusion of no choice':

the tendency to underestimate one's influence over external events in the real world. Suffered by many older and younger people, and rear-loaders in intro mode. Favorite cliché: 'I have to'.

IQ bias or 'professionals' bias:

the tendency to believe that those with higher/lower IQ, or more/fewer intellectual qualifications are superior or inferior to others.

Negativity bias:

the tendency to pay more attention to negative than positive experiences, memories, or other kinds of information. Especially affects the depressed.

Ostrich effect:

ignoring an obvious harmful situation in the mistaken belief that it will go away. Includes sulking, stonewalling and selective memory.


the tendency “see the bad side”, choose the worst interpretation of events and for some people, especially those suffering from depression, to overestimate the likelihood of negative things happening to them.

Racial bias or 'ethnic bias':

the belief that one ethnic or genetic type is superior or inferior to another.

Sexual bias/gender bias:

the belief that one sex or gender type is superior or inferior to another.

Status Quo Bias:

Fear of change and the unknown. Existing social, work, religious and political systems tend to be preferred, and alternatives disparaged sometimes even at the expense of individual and collective self-interest.


expecting a member of a group to have certain characteristics without having factual information about that individual.

Ultimate Attribution Error:

The group version of the Fundamental Attribution Error: the tendency to explain negative behaviours of an 'outgroup' member as due to a flaw or 'trait' in their personality, and to justify positive behaviour performed by an outgroup member as a result of lucky circumstances. It is also the belief that positive acts performed by 'ingroup' members are a result of their great personality, whereas if an ingroup member behaves negatively this is believed to be rare, and a result of accidental situational factors.[131]

What do you mean by that?


Misunderstandings are inevitable in all walks of life. The presence or absence of emotional control in repairing misunderstandings is the crucial factor that determines whether a relationship will last and grow, or decay and fail. NH interaction techniques and recognizing our common enemy as anxiety work like emotional homeostasis in a partnership.

The basics of emotional control; being able to help each other calm down, and listening well, make it much more likely that disagreements and misunderstandings will be solved without arousing sentiment. Most sentimental behaviors are simply automatic and just need to be overwritten by healthy emotion -which is what we're practising in interaction. Cognitive bias causes and compounds misunderstanding, but when we know what to look for, we can detect viral bias if it tries to creep in, remove it from ourselves, and discount it when we detect it in others.

Some aspects of NH take longer than others, and while input control and anxiety reduction can show effects within hours or days, emotional control, behavioral control and interaction are more likely to require weeks and months of practice to show clear results, and we cannot expect cultural competence to arise overnight. It takes patience, diligence and persistence, and change will come in direct proportion to how much we put into practicing it. Some of the first changes we will notice are a greater ability to be objective, a growing awareness of what emotional or sentimental states we are in ourselves and when, and a sharpened clarity about others' behavior, cognitive ability and biases.

We include exercises for improving emotional and behavioral competence in the hacks & exercises section of this tutorial.


NHA Guide to Methods & Tech

Anti-virus hacks: System security & emotional control

Once again we're doing things in the right order, so before we start racking up interaction airmiles, it's best to do a systems check and make sure our security is up to date. Sentiment prevention is even better than cure, and we have more than just input control to enhance our abilities at this stage. Anxiety-free interaction and real behaviors provide us with some automatic anti-virus software, because by using the networks healthily they are taking up lots of our processing power and leaving no resources for sentiment to usurp, plus we are avoiding dodgy-input distractions. So the best protection is interaction even when we're not sure who is using emotion or sentiment.

What is important to realize is that at ALL WAKING TIMES and in everything we do, think and feel we are expressing one of these types of behavior, and we can step in and regain control of what or who is using our runtime; by deliberately running real behaviors, and also by detecting and rejecting viral behavior programs. As there are only three overall outcomes of events in relationships, so there are only three possible types of behavior in every relationship; action, interaction and reaction. Considering past relationships objectively can be useful, like looking at a system crash dump can enable us to diagnose what sort of virus invaded/is invading/might invade the system. Don't choose any relationship example that still has sentimental weighting, however.

Here are some ways of recognizing the onset of dodgy behavior programs and employing anti-virus techniques:


Recognizing when a wimp virus happens

Either things get worse, or nothing occurs which changes any agent in any way significant to its survival or adaptation. Nothing gets better or easier, usually something gets noticeably worse. If you like it techy, a wimp algorithm is a set of events resulting in either zero apparent change or a reduction in the survival/adaptability potential of any agent involved in those events. A wimp virus may seem harmless, but enough such events in succession move events our of the green zone in the 'wimp' direction and communication dwindles to banal topics, and finally stops. Wimp viroids are slower and rely for their effect on density; where many small changes eventually add up to a big dysfunction. Victims often wonder, 'How did I get stuck in this situation?' or, 'When did it all go this wrong?' The answer is, all the time, very slowly.

Wimp viruses can start or be spread with 'wimp' conscious thoughts, and/or wimp sayings; such as: "Ooh, I don't think we should interfere...?" "After all, what can we do?" "Don't rock the boat" "I daren't do that; who knows what might happen?" "I might as well not bother; who cares?" "What would others think?" And we can also have wimp unconscious thoughts of the same nature, that we're not aware of. Wimp thoughts often end in question marks.

The thing about thoughts, is that the brain responds chemically to all of them, conscious or unconscious. That's why it's so hard to control the body (even when the mind really wants to) after too many bottles of 'Bishops Appendage Real Ale', or whatever. The brain responds to all signals, and all thoughts are like little emails with attachments. In the attachments are hormones, and ordinarily the brain opens all attachments from itself, because why shouldn't it? It assumes the virus checker is fully functional and that's our own awareness.

We can now watch this happening on fMRI. The subject is directed to concentrate on thoughts of a particular nature, (or sometimes hears them repeated audibly via headphones). The sentiment hormones, once released, send second messages to their targets all over the body. Once they have hit the 'send' button, there's no going back. It's like swallowing a tab of LSD, then someone saying, ..."Oh no, man...don't take those!"... This is why emotional control is so important. The hormonal attachments to wimp thoughts, conscious or unconscious, have long complicated names like adrenocorticosterone or cryptic ones like AMPK-y which don't help at all so we'll just call them wimp hormones.

All hormones cause bodily changes, and emotions or sentiments that we actually perceive (although we may not perceive the bodily changes). Wimp hormones change the body in a way that makes us very tired, fatigued and weary. It is very difficult to think clearly or even to be bothered to think. If you inject a rat with them it becomes a lazy, antisocial scruffy animal which can only just about be bothered to feed itself. It won't play with toys and it won't explore. It becomes totally apathetic, or depressed, or both. The world either appears uninteresting in the extreme, or way too scary to explore.

Such animals reproduce less and less often, and fail to nurture successful litters which are born. They can live for quite a long time in this hormonal condition with external care, but they become senile at an early age and die through self-neglect unless there is such intervention.

Wimp thoughts lead to events based on ideas like, "I think that's all the bears that came in here -I didn't really pay atten -aaaaaaagh!" or “Well, what can we do? We're just the little people...”


Recognizing when a bully virus happens.

A bully is basically the opposite of a wimp. Things will almost certainly get worse, sometimes much worse. Bully viroids act fast, and rely on their intensity to have an effect, usually of sudden, sometimes unexpected, aggressive behavior and shock tactics. People who are aware of this tend to head towards 'anger management' classes which can help those who want to take control but are of no use to the people who feel 'out of control' under stress. Many expect to be somehow magically 'given' the control we must determinedly take a stand to gain and maintain. WE stand between the darkness of decline and the light of intelligence; not some pompous dude with a clipboard and powerpoint.

Bully virus thoughts and sayings are such things as, "They should do as I say!" “It's for their own good!” "Respect my authority, or else!" "S/he's going out with me now, and s/he should do what I want!" "You have to tell people what to do, or things have no sense of structure!" And we can also have bully unconscious thoughts of the same nature, that we're not aware of. Bully thoughts often end with exclamation marks.

Bully thoughts lead to events like conflict, rows, resistance (action-reaction), resentful children, war, estranged friends, and relationship failure. Rats injected with the associated hormones squabble, fight, posture, compete and dominate. On a long term basis (constantly on the hormones) they rape and kill each other, setting up a society of 'Might is Right' and Aggressively Crafty/deceitful/greedy = Respected. They fear and attack or run from anything new or unexpected. They reproduce at a normal rate but fail to nurture their young, and so many die fighting that overall, their numbers drop. They die young yet physically burnt out, usually of cardiovascular diseases or cancer.

Sometimes it's difficult to tell whether one person is running 'bully' or the other is running 'wimp', because when we're in wimp mode everyone else seems like a bully, and when we're in bully mode everyone else seems like a wimp, due to perception distortion. Both also reduce sensory acuity and memory resolution, while giving the impression there is nothing wrong. However, it's in the code: looking at the core conditions and backtracking where they were broken and by whom during an event will reveal the truth (and it's usually both parties breaking conditions). Bully can't run alongside respect, whereas wimp can. Wimp may make us feel too afraid to be honest when there's no real danger, bully definitely won't even when there is. Both will render empathy impossible.


Being certain when an interaction happens.

In the algorithm metaphor, this is a series of events resulting in an apparent improvement in the survival/adaptability potential of any agent involved in those events. All events included in this set will conform to the criteria required by the core conditions, in thought and feeling as well as in behavior. Interactional analysis will tell us clearly when we've had one (and we'll feel it experientially).

What we are feeling changes how the world appears. In 'core conditions' mode, we get better and more friendly responses in our interpersonal exchanges. This boosts our self esteem, we are able to think more clearly and confidently, we pay attention where it matters, and do not get distracted by things that don't really matter. We perform competently and with minimal error. We can understand things more easily, and learn things faster. This makes every task easier and saves energy. The more we interact, the faster and more accurate we become at interacting in new ways.

We also become more effective at communication. And communication, for humans, is very important. Here's why: because what we're saying and thinking changes how the world appears a great deal more than we might notice. When every event inside our mind is an interaction, our mind will be at optimal health. Not brain; we mean mind. 'Events' inside the mind are thoughts; and all signaling is thought. It is still 'thought' which beats our hearts; it's just unconscious, automatic thought. It's going on in the unconscious robotics department, not on N3's screen or in main memory, that's why we're not aware of it (unless it does anything unusual, when a signal alerts main memory and it does become conscious). But it's still a thought, even when we're not aware it's there.

Interactive thoughts are things like, "right, how can I solve this then?" "something new...let's have a look..." "what would be a safer way to catch dinner?" "If I can find something that floats, I can..." and, on the whole, "I wonder...?" These thoughts lead to vents like the development of new ideas, rational argument, exploration, and solutions to problems. The hormonal attachments to thoughts of this nature cause emotions of excitement, interest, alertness and attraction. They change the body in a way that makes us more energetic and attentive, creative, imaginative, focused, and ready to learn. The end result of this is behavior beneficial to survival and adaptation, and, personally, pleasure.

Rats injected with these hormones literally grow new brain cells (you can see this online under a digital microscope), which makes sense if the organism is preparing to learn/learning. They have high self confidence and perform well in tests and games. They are nosey and want to explore. They escape a lot more often than other lab rats. : ) They are sociable and not aggressive unless threatened. The world appears interesting and exciting, and also satisfying.

They live long, healthy lives and reproduce successfully and often.[132]

We tend to waste energy if we are under the influence of bully or wimp hormones. We don't digest our food properly under the influence of anxiety, so fewer resources are coming in. Eventually, the bully virus leads to burnout and the wimp virus to exhaustion and degradation. A waste of energy on the biological level damages our bodies, so is ultimately anti-survival unless we're getting something back for it worthwhile. Any event option except for an interaction is ultimately a waste of energy, from evolution's or emergence's point of view...

Of course, intelligence emergence doesn't have a point of view; in fact, it couldn't give a toss, it just can't help doing what it does. We should say, "from the point of view that favors the most beneficial outcome to the survival and thriving of the process of intelligence. Of the program itself. That's what intelligence will always prioritize, and only that. The power of 'that program' is what we experience as personal intelligence. We are not saying there is some 'other' intelligence which causes our intelligence emergence to happen; we are saying that this is what intelligence is. When interaction happens, this is “intelligence influencing the outcome of events in favor of itself”; an interaction causing or enhancing further interaction. It only works in our personal favor if our own model is congruous with this intent.

Interaction is what the intelligence program achieves, and all that it achieves, is the survival, adaptation and thriving of itself. Achieving interaction (intelligence) all of our waking time is what being a neurohacker is all about.

You'll find some anti-virus techniques for emotional control in the hacks section below.

System security is only a part of emotional control; the strategic preemptive strike part that can, if used adeptly, stop a sentiment virus dead in its tracks, quarantine it and destroy it. The two other techniques for emotional stability and control are co counseling (or similar) and interactional analysis.

While anti virus techniques protect from future attacks, co counseling deals with damage done by past attacks, and interactional analysis deals with diagnosing and preventing current attacks.


Co counseling & Core counseling

Co counseling deals with incongruous memories. As we learned above, N4 has the ability to control memory weighting, by 'trimming back' unmyelinated connections in procedural memory on consolidation and adjusting it on reconsolidation. Failure to exert this control leads to permanently wrongly-weighted memories, which can cause problems such as PTSD, shock, nervous exhaustion or chronic anxiety.

The problem with these memories, apart from flashbacks and nightmares in more severe cases, is that they are dredged up whenever we get anxious for any reason, and they pile on even more stress and confusion as we compare the new to the old and it starts to look like 'nothing ever works out for me' or 'there's just too much going on and I can't cope'. All new input gets interpreted according to this repertoire of past dodgy associations, which gives us a cynical, biased attitude towards anything new, including new relationships.

In a fully functional state, realizing our potential is the source of our positive self-regard. We are able to lead lives that are congruous, authentic and genuine, and maintain our autonomy and integrity. Incongruous individuals, in their constant anxious pursuit of other peoples' respect and esteem, lead lives of falseness like puppets in a synthetic reality and do not realize their potential. Conditions put on them by circumstances around them make them so anxious as to forego their genuine, authentic lives to win the approval of others and society. They have lost the ability to distinguish fact from fiction and live lives that are not true to themselves; to who they are on the inside.

Society's 'ideal' is a fantasy of making a non-workable system work; a notion that is always out of everyone's reach, the standard nobody can meet; an illogical ideology based on a false ontology. The gap between our real self (still functional in our unconscious mind) and society's ideal self (constructed in the conscious mind); between the "I am this person" and the "society says to be good I should be this person", is incongruity. Rogers calls this condition of conflict between 'I am' and 'I should be' a fragmented personality.

Theoretically, an individual may develop optimally 'first time round' and avoid the previously described outcomes if they experience only "unconditional positive regard" and no conditions of false value develop. The need for positive regard from others (respect) and positive self-regard (self respect) is then in sync with organismic evaluation (reality's values) and there would be congruity between self and experience, with full intelligence maturity as a result.[133] This ideal human condition is embodied in the "fully functioning person" who is open to experience and able to live existentially, trusts in their own intelligence, expresses emotions appropriately and freely, acts autonomously (independently), is creative and practises entelechy; "the good life".[134]

It should be noted that; "The good life is a process not a state of being. It is a direction, not a destination.[135] For the vast majority of persons who do not have an optimal childhood there is hope for change and development toward psychological maturity via co counseling, in which the aim is to dissolve the conditions of worth (re-weight our wrongly-weighted memories), achieve a self congruous with genuine experience and restore the organismic valuing process.[133]

As we have learned in previous tutorials, Rogers did not see conflict as inevitable or humans as basically destructive. It is only when "human is less than fully human", not functioning freely, that our behavior is pathological. The human capacity for awareness and the ability to symbolize gives us enormous power, but this awareness is a double-edged phenomenon : undistorted association and awareness can lead to full functioning and a rich life, while distortions in association and awareness lead to maladjustment and a multitude of destructive behaviors.

Rogers theorized society, (particularly Western society), conditions, rewards and reinforces behaviors that are "perversions of the unitary actualizing tendency.[136] We do not come into the world estranged from ourselves or our culture; society and indoctrination are behind this alienation. Rogers found the healthy human infant to be a model of congruity. S/he is seen as completely genuine and integrated, unified in experience, awareness and communication. Only distorted perceptions from conditions of natural worth cause our departure from this integration.

The "maladjusted person" or 'fragmented personality' is anxious, defensive, maintains rather than enhances their life, clings to routine and 'the known' for stability, feels manipulated rather than free, and is common and conforming rather than creative.[137] The fully functioning person, in contrast, is inquisitive and open to experience, creative and able to live "the good life". While Rogers sees the common human condition as one of incongruity between self and experience, this does not minimize the potential of human beings for autonomy. Rogers sees the human being as: "capable of evaluating the outer and inner situation, understanding herself in its context, making constructive choices as to the next steps in life, and acting on those choices".[138]

There is much empirical support for the theory that congruity between real self and real experience leads to better personality adjustment and less defensiveness. [139] The openness to experience characteristic has been supported.[140] Other research has also supported the idea of changes in self-concept occurring as a result of employing core conditions.[141] In Rogers' view personality change using the core conditions is absolutely possible and is further a necessary part of growth. However, he notes that real-self-acceptance is a prerequisite. That is to say, we need to understand and accept that our real self IS intelligence.

This acceptance depends on our capacity for free will. Rogers maintains that our defensive habits keep us from being aware of the irrationality of incongruity so that we are consciously trying to maintain society's ideal self, while organismically (unconsciously) we are trying to express and develop our real self.[142]

While lack of awareness may well be a problem in the general public, it is not so in our own context and there are no obstacles to beginning co counseling with core conditions ('Core Counseling') right away.


Core counseling is a free interactional method of counselling ordinarily done with a partner or group, although there is a method for self-counseling it is somewhat slower to take effect. There is an online method which we'll also discuss.

Core counselling in general takes a positive view of the person (i.e. we are all essentially good), and considers the mind and body as an integrated whole (it is partly holistic. Fully holistic ontologies include the natural environment and all life).

While we do not recommend the 'official' co counselling institutions that apply restrictions and cost money, DIY co-counselling using Rogers' core conditions has the best results of any kind of counselling therapy.


Background theory:

The theory of co counselling (CC) centers around habitual viral behaviors; patterns of behavior that tend to be repeated in particular types of circumstance, that are irrational, unhelpful or compulsive. In other words they are harmful, either in themselves, or in the results they lead to, and usually both. We are concentrating here on the context of relationships, and the viral behaviors that affect relationships, although as you will see co counseling can be used for any area of life.

CC theory says viral behaviors (which it calls 'distress patterns') are driven by the accumulated consequences in the mind of (currently unconscious) memories of past events in which the person was unable to express or discharge the emotion appropriate to the event and weighted it with sentiment instead. That means events and experiences in the past that we were unable to properly process at the time, that have left us with unsolved problems or issues we’re not comfortable with because they are incongruous. It becomes a habit to run these programs –when the incongruity must be faced, we get anxious and we get stuck. We allow the virus to run through sheer habit and feeling we don't have any other options.

CC enables release from these repetitive patterns by allowing re-weighting of memories during congruous reconsolidation of the past unresolved experiences. Signs of reweighting taking place at first create emotional release in the client and may include things like crying, warm perspiration, trembling, yawning, laughing and relaxed, non-repetitive talking. These are all ways of reprocessing an event that has been wrongly-weighted. Once the memory (it's usually a false belief) is unearthed and acknowledged, and it's place in the confusion recognized (for example: “X happened because I believed Y, but there is no actual proof for Y”). Then the memory is reweighted with a clear perspective. Sometimes the reweighting choice is to discard (for example we come to the conclusion that 'Y' was simply not true). On other occasions past behavior can be seen in better perspective and understood in the clear light of reason in the here and now, and memories reweighted congruously. A great deal of past incongruity comes to light as a straightforward result of anxiety affecting us at the time.

We use a specialized type of co counselling called 'Core Counseling' in which there is guidance according to core conditions, because it has shown particularly good results.


Core counseling with a partner

If we replace the words 'Starfleet Officer' with 'Neurohacker' in the quote below, we'll grasp the basics:


“The first duty of every Starfleet officer is to the truth,

whether it's scientific truth or historical truth or personal truth.

It is the guiding principle on which Starfleet is based.

And if you can't find it within yourself to stand up and tell the truth about what happened,

you don't deserve to wear that uniform!”

(Capt. Picard, Star Trek TNG)


In core counseling everyone's first duty is to the truth. We work together like Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson (insert your favorite detectives) to gently but firmly uncover that truth, and incorporate it into our body of knowledge. If we get stuck during a counseling session it's wise to remind ourselves that this is what we're doing.

Each participant takes equal time in the role of 'counsellor' and 'client'. An hour each is a good session time, but this should be open and flexible, allowing for shorter initial sessions or extensions if progress is being made. It's best if only one session happens per day, because the first sleep , after a session is all part of memory reconsolidation, and it's a good idea to follow your own learning cycle timing for repeat sessions.

In the 'counsellor' role we are expected to be attentive and to listen, while maintaining the core conditions. In many cases (especially after practice in the 'client' role), there is no discussion necessary and the counsellor gives no prompting; the aim is to support the person in the 'client' role to work through their own issues in an autonomous, self-directed way. If the client does not feel able to talk freely (which often happens at first) then exercises can be used to start off (we'll give some practical core counseling beginners' exercises in the exercises & hacks section of this tutorial).

In the client role, we are expected to:

1 begin with something that caused a sentiment problem in the past, and work backwards to trace the incongruous memories that are getting in the way of progress.

2 Work through the memory and discuss the incongruity or the ideological dilemma it causes, in a calm, objective way while acknowledging our own emotional responses freely.

3 Place the memories in perspective with what we know now, and reweight them congruously.

We'll give examples of core counseling sessions in the hacks and exercises section below.

During this course of events, both client and counselor go through a process as follows:

1 The individuals organize, turn up for, and start a session. This is the most significant step within the process. The individuals have taken it upon themselves to take responsibility for their own minds even if they do not yet recognize this as the reason for doing core counseling. The 'helping' situation is understood and the person being client is aware that the person being counselor does not have the answers, but that with assistance they can both work out solutions to their own problems.

2 The person being client discusses a current problem they suspect might be caused or exacerbated by sentiment IN THEMSELVES. It is important not to turn a counseling session into a sentimental free-for-all about other people's faults. We are here to work on OURSELVES.

The person being counselor encourages free expression of feelings in regard to the problem, providing a friendly, kind, interested, and receptive attitude which helps to bring about anxiety-free expression, but both parties must be prepared to take on and recognize anxiety if it arises.

3 As the client talks about the situation as they would to a video diary, both parties accept, recognize, and help to clarify where sentiment and wrong weightings are occurring. Whatever the sentiments are, the counselor must say and do things which help the client recognize them AS sentiments in the here and now, release any anxiety associated with them, and trace them back to whatever belief or idea in memory is at their root. Our table of emotions/sentiments in T9, the Difficult List, and similar guides can be most useful in this.

A typical example might be: Alice felt jealous when her last sexual partner had sex with other people. The discussion on this might range through why Alice felt this sentiment and Alice may say “well it's wrong not to be monogamous!” -at which point you've found the incongruous memory, because biology won't agree with that. So focus now shifts to that memory; that belief, and removing it and replacing it with something more congruous. BEWARE OF SNAPBACK HERE! Alice may initiate an anxiety-driven argument and will have to work through why biology (and her own unconscious mind) disagree with that belief, why the belief was invented by society, and why it is based solely on anxiety -fear of what others will think or fear of loss. Alice may need to see examples of other people living happily with multiple partners or happily alone, to be reminded that we naturally thrive with many allies and calm down enough to accept this.

4 They would here move on to what Alice would be feeling if all were well, instead of jealousy. This might be empathy (if the second partner is someone healthy and nice) or concern and possibly alarm (if they're not).

Alice may by now realize the sentiment she felt was based on fear of loss, or fear of social standing; not morality. Real (healthy) morality would encourage us all to have more than one partner during our lifetime for genetic diversity of offspring, and biology's morality is hardwired into our unconscious minds. Once Alice has realized this, they would focus on that fear of loss and why those associations exist (they, too, are incongruous). Alice may need some straight talking and reminders that we don't “own” anything to lose, in real life.

If anxiety's still present, Alice's viral program (still running) will argue that she badly missed the company of a valued ally when the partner 'went off with' this other person, and may need to be reminded that genuinely close allies remain close, and if people don't, they were not close allies in the first place. If someone is only interested in Alice for sex, why was such a shallow relationship so worthy of maintaining? Why not spend the extra free time with more interesting people? Some work on self-esteem and a reminder of freedom and independence may be warranted here. We make allies because we choose to work together, but that does not exclude allies working with others -indeed, it welcomes it, and Alice may be missing out on making a cool new friend in real life because she is stuck in a simulated reality where what biology wants is considered 'wrong'. Alice may need to consider why billions of years' evolution would have got it 'wrong'...the whole point of adaptation is that species die out if behaviors are not beneficial.

Of course, every relationship is different and Alice may be confused simply because originally both she and her partner claimed to be monogamous. The problem then twists off to the question of why her partner was too anxious to tell the truth that their tastes had changed and talk about it; but we keep the focus on Alice -How did she respond when she first found this out? Did she interact, and was she honest, respectful and empathic in that response? Keep the session focused on the client, not others involved with the story, and make it clear to the client that they are not responsible for, and must not waste valuable time on, other peoples' anxieties; even though it's fine to acknowledge them where they become apparent. We have quite enough to do, dealing with our own.

6 When the individual's specific departures from reality have been pinned down and the associated incongruous beliefs unearthed from memory, the beliefs themselves are observed in the light of our current perspective and understanding and considered as what they truly are, and how they now fit in congruously with the rest of what we know. This is what leads to more appropriate reweighting of the initial percept that caused incongruity in the first place, the making of new congruous memories, and the ability to approach the subject in a healthily emotional but anxiety-free way. In this phase, core counseling works rather like encounter therapy in dealing with phobic fears. Reality overwrites imagined events and associations and there is an immense sense of relief as well as some surprise at the difference.

This 'reappraisal' phase includes stimulating the appropriate emotion/s that were usurped at the time (again, the table of emotions/sentiments from T9 and the Difficult List can help us here) and expressing those emotions in context of the situation under discussion. The next sleep will automatically finish the process.


Core counseling online

If you can't find a partner you would feel comfortable doing Core Counseling with face to face, it can be done online. First, set up mail accounts in nicknames, which you use only for counseling purposes. Write to each other as you would to a diary, working through the same procedure as above. Obviously results may be slower. It works best if you can arrange to both be online at the same time and do it 'live' as it were. Do not however use live chat or video, skype etc to do counseling. If you cannot find anyone you know at all, some of here are happy to be email counseling partners. Just post in the forum and ask (but don't do the counseling in the forum!)


Core Counseling alone

Is possible but slow, and only recommended for adepts who have done counseling with a partner. If we are really too shy to confide in anyone, it can be used as a last resort to get us unstuck. The problem with working alone is that Core Counseling needs discourse to be effective and talking to itself seems a bit crazy for wetware. It IS still effective however, especially with a good imagination. You can record yourself talking through your situation, then wait a day or so and listen back, pausing wherever you seemed to get stuck or where you notice sentiment, then question yourself about why it is occurring. It's possible to go through the whole process this way if you are gentle with yourself and take it slowly.

A second method of working alone is to use “4th Wall” Core Counseling as follows: We take the view that we are not discussing ourselves, but someone else called Bob or Alice. We talk about their problems as though they were another couple and see if we can help them spot where interactions fail. This gives a 'once-removed', anthropological type of attitude and it's easier for some people to see problems from this perspective. Some also seem more comfortable discussing things this way but emotional release is slower as it has to come through empathy 'with Alice' and this is not the ideal method when used alone, for this reason. Trying out both however can be useful in getting a perspective if working alone. Also useful is considering a problem from other people's point of view; for example, how would your favorite movie character or a successful friend be likely solve a problem of this kind?


Interactional analysis

Interactional Analysis also applies Roger's core conditions in a process designed to reveal, detect and avoid sentiment, but Interactional Analysis deals with incongruous associations in the here and now; that is to say in ongoing relationships. This method helps us to step back and view situations and relationships objectively, and is by far the easiest method for understanding relationships, the biggest difficulty being the danger of transference (transferring observations made about others' behavior & relationships in terms of our own behavior and relationships.)

Interactional Analysis is a teaching & learning tool; not any kind of assessment or test.

It is multifunctional in that it works in all contexts. A relationship between two people can become creative, fulfilling, and free from anxiety via this method, but it can also be used for group relationships, small or large. Interactional Analysis can reveal the subterranean 'fault lines' in relationships that indicate action/reaction behavior interfering with natural development. Researchers have used such mapping of subtle behaviors to predict relationship failure rates with 94% accuracy.[143]

We begin Interactional analysis by using examples; some of which you will find in this tutorial. By analyzing fictional situations and situations involving other people's problems objectively, we are in a safe space to practice with no threat of anxiety. We move on to applying the same method to observations of strangers, people we know, and finally our own past and present situations. What we are looking for in Interactional analysis at first is simply who is interacting and who is acting/reacting. We move on to looking for viral behaviors and cognitive biases, and keep adding new tools to our analysis kit as we progress to advanced level.

The best way to get used to interactional analysis is by practical experience. There are some exercises in the assignments section below, plus you can use the “Interactional Analysis Practice” article in NHA Library/Basics. You can learn more about Co Counseling and Interactional Analysis in the article of the same name also in the basics section of the library.


Unconscious to conscious awareness

Bottom-up methods for achieving conscious awareness of unconscious content were discussed in tutorial 9; Top-down methods will be discussed here.

Core Counseling is the main “top down” method for accessing unconscious knowledge consciously, which is how it helps us to uncover wrongly-weighted memories. There are some other methods that have been successful for students:


EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique)

Has been likened to 'emotional acupressure'. Simple tapping with the fingertips is used to input kinetic energy signals onto specific areas of the head and chest while we think about our specific problem - whether it is a traumatic event, an addiction, pain, etc. - and voice positive affirmations.

The theory is this combination of physical input and voicing positive affirmation works to clear the "short-circuit" — the emotional block — from our mentality thus restoring our mind and body's balance, which is essential for optimal health and the healing of physical disease. Some people are initially wary of these principles that EFT is based on — acupuncture and pressure-point manipulation is only recently becoming recognized in the West. But keep in mind that, whether based on traditional acupuncture theory, placebo effect, or coincident combination of sensory and cognitive input, EFT practitioners consistently report good results.[144]

Several methods for delivering EFT other than individual self-therapy have been tested. In experiments with PTSD sufferers, two-thirds of volunteers receiving 'DIY' telephone coaching showed a significant symptom reduction within six EFT sessions. For those having EFT performed on them, the results were even stronger, with 91% of volunteers going from above to below PTSD thresholds on standardized inventories within six EFT sessions.[145]

Another way of delivering EFT is in group therapy sessions. A study of 216 healthcare workers receiving a day of group EFT found a 45% reduction in psychological symptoms such as depression and anxiety.[146] A randomized controlled trial of depression in college students found that most participants in the moderate to severe depression category normalized after four group therapy sessions.[147] Online coaching has also been successful. There are already at least four EFT applications available in the iTunes store. They range from a simple application that recaps EFTs Basic Recipe to a sophisticated application offering virtual coaching for specific mental health problems like anxiety and depression.

No adverse effects have been reported. Whether improvement remains long term is not yet known as the therapy is relatively new. You can learn more about EFT here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emotional_Freedom_Technique



Is an invaluable tool in achieving emotional competence, congruity and control. Working with EEG, GSR, and light/sound devices is helpful to most people when trying to improve intuition and unconscious awareness. Being able to track our own emotional state when considering a problem enables us to optimize calm states for reconsideration and learn to control and fine-tune our own responses. If you are fortunate enough to work with a partner, wire yourselves up to any feedback device during discussion or interactional analysis. You can see/hear what your unconscious is up to while you interact, and exactly when something pushes us over the line of stress tolerance. If you're working alone, biofeedback is still extremely helpful to understanding what our unconscious is up to and when. We can challenge ourselves by considering things we know make us anxious and maintaining our cool, with biofeedback, in realtime. What better 'safe space' training tool could there be?

There are two other 'top down' methods for improving cultural skills; Cognitive Reappraisal and Discourse Analysis, which we'll look at in tutorial 11.


Assignments & Assessments: Interactional Analysis practice

Note: the names 'Alice' 'Bob' etc are used in all examples of interactional analysis. These mean 'Person A,B,C,D' etc and are NOT characters with consistent behaviors or viewpoints, so don't fall into the trap of thinking 'Alice' is always the sensible one!


Interactional analysis practice: Obelix

Remembering the 'three ways' people behave in situations, read the following account, then answer the questions below.


'Obelix' was the name given to an albino gorilla who was injured by poachers and brought to an animal welfare center, where he recovered well. Staff were told to take him back out into the wild for longer and longer periods each day, until he had his strength back and could leave.

Although now physically healed, when staff tried to lead him out to the wild Obelix would often sit down on the path and refuse to move, although occasionally he would go along quite happily. One staff member, Bob, was simply puzzled because once they were actually out in the wild, Obelix found lots of fruit and obviously really enjoyed himself.

Another staff member, Carl, decided Obelix was obstinate and lazy, a third, Donna, thought he was getting aggressive and resentful. Eve (the manager's) attempts to coerce or threaten him to get him out out of the center just made things worse.

Alice (the resident vet) found out all she could about gorillas and about Albinism. Then she spent time with Obelix, sitting beside his straw compound in the center. “Treat me,” she told other staff, “Like a second gorilla.” When the time came for his outing, Alice walked with Obelix along the same route he took. It was early in the morning and the exit was on the east side of the building. As Alice and Obelix came out and started down the path, the morning sun was shining in their faces, and Alice put on her shades.

Obelix sat down on the path and refused to move. So did Alice. She had solved the problem.

Albino animals are very sensitive to bright light. Not being able to see clearly ahead, and still not back to his full strength, Obelix had sat down on what he felt was safe ground.

The staff saw the lovely sunny day only through their own eyes or through shades; they never imagined seeing it through the gorilla's. In light of this awareness it occurred to staff that the days Obelix was 'no trouble' were in fact when it was cloudy or raining. By learning “what is reality like for him?” and putting herself in the gorilla's position, Alice saw it right away.

Once the staff knew this, Obelix was no longer seen as 'obstinate and lazy' or 'aggressive and resentful'. Instead they saw the truth; a recently-injured creature with hypersensitive eyes blinded by the light who felt unsteady and unsafe. Their anger and frustration turned to understanding and support, and Obelix was taken out by another route, shaded by trees.



1 In the above account, who is interacting?

2 Whom or what are they interacting with?

3 Who is acting or reacting?

4 Why are they not interacting?

5 Give two examples of an agent interacting changing the behavior of others in this example

Answers at end of tutorial


Interactional analysis practice: Inheritance (this is a tougher one!)

Remember! Characters are different every time, despite same names.

Read the following account, then answer the questions below.


Alice and her friends, who share a rented house in a small town, inherit sixty acres of deciduous woodland just four kilometres away.

Alice thinks they should cut down all the trees and sell the timber, then plant the lot with GM corn, sell it to HFCS manufacturers, or grow christmas trees, give up their day jobs, and use the cash to pay their rent plus save until there's enough to get their own house built on the land, and then they can live off the proceeds for life.

Bob thinks they should put a fence round the plot, make it a wildlife sanctuary, and never go near it; letting nature take over and return it to wilderness.

Carl thinks they should turn it into a giant allotment, grow fruit and veg in polythene tunnels and otherwise agrees with Bob that they could give up their day jobs, sell the produce in markets and online to pay their rent and save up to afford a house, then live on the profits.

Donna thinks they should build a log cabin in the woods because that doesn't need planning permission, live there and start forest gardening for self sufficiency. They could still sell excess stock and farm shop produce.

Alice argues that the land would provide all their needs but realistically no income at all.

Eve thinks they should just sell the woodland and buy their own house in town right now.



1 In the above account, who is interacting?

2 Who has the most interactive plan?

3 Why are some other plans not optimally interactive?

4 Who is acting or reacting?

5 Why are they not interacting?

Answers at end of tutorial


SELF ASSESSMENT: Have we understood interaction?

1 Can we interact with ourselves?

2 With objects?

3 With places?

4 With others?

5 With animals?

6 With events?

7 With constructs?

8 With reality?

9 With the planet?

10 Can two or more inanimate objects interact by themselves?

11 Do you think synesthesia is a type of sensory synchronization?


If you can't answer these yet come back to them after reading more.

Answers at end of tutorial


Towards Entelechy


Words and language,whether written or spoken, do not seem to play any part in my thought processes. The psychological entities that serve as building blocks for my thought are certain signs or images, more or less clear, that I can reproduce at will."

A. Einstein

Not for wimps

This process of the good life is not, I am convinced, a life for the faint-hearted. It involves the stretching and growing of becoming more and more of one's potentialities. It involves the courage to be. It means launching oneself fully into the stream of life”.

Carl Rogers


Most Important Bits to Remember:

Our deepest emotions, our passions and dislikes, and our close relationships are an essential part of intelligence and our species owes much to their role in human affairs as well as memory and learning. Our emotions guide us in facing danger, recovering from painful loss, persisting towards a goal despite mistakes, bonding with others, raising families, creating culture and thriving via mutual cooperation. Each healthy emotion offers a distinctive type of interaction, pointing us in the direction that has worked well to handle the recurring challenges of human life throughout evolution. As these behaviors were repeated and repeated over our evolutionary history, the survival value of our emotional repertoire was attested to by its becoming embodied (hard wired in) as unconscious knowledge.

Any view of human intelligence that leaves out unconscious knowledge is badly incomplete, in light of the magnitude of the importance of emotion, empathy and intuition in our lives that science now reveals. These things are a great deal more important than intellect -what IQ measures- when it comes to shaping our memory, decisions, judgment and behavior. Intellect can come to nothing when sentiments hold sway. Our awareness and perception of every personal encounter and our responses to it are shaped not just by our rational judgments or previous experiences but also by emotional or sentimental weighting.

All healthy emotions are at root impulses to interact in different ways; to run the programs for handling life events that evolution has instilled into us. The very word 'emotion' is from the words 'to move outwards'; suggesting that a tendency to interact is implicit in every emotion.

Interaction is a type of behavior that results in the emergence of spontaneous order, harmony and accord in relationships. That includes molecular relationships between atoms as well as our own relationships with tools, machines, nature, people and ourselves. But it's not a quantum thing. We don't need to step beyond very basic physics to grasp the concepts behind unconscious programs.

It is interaction between the basics -the software of intelligence operations (our mind, when we are our real self); and the details -appropriate input to operate on (context, other people & events); via a hardware platform (the biology of brains & bodies); in a matrix (the real world); that results in the emergence of intelligence. Our unconscious hardwired awareness of the processes, procedures, and series of events going on in the world throughout our evolution have allowed N3 to (a) conceptualize reality as a series of programs unfolding in a variety of contexts, and (b) analogize its own processes and procedures to align with those of reality. N3's abstract model is an analogy of concrete reality; its abstract programs are an analogy of the concrete processes occurring in reality, simply reloaded into a different context.

When we are asked to interact, we are simply being asked to allow the unconscious program already within us to do its thing, and to give it healthy input, because that program is our real self.


Hacks & Exercises



Anti virus techniques:

For 'bully' viruses:

1 Slow down. If we slow down the system, NE, epinephrine and cortisol will fall, and the virus may be repelled by natural protection. Deliberately slowing down the system can be achieved in all sorts of ways, some of which can be done in public and are undetectable. If you really need time out, say (even in the middle of an exchange) “Excuse me, I need the bathroom” or “I'm sorry, I have a headache, could we talk later?”

2 Stop talking and stop moving if you can. Slow, deep breathing adjusts ANS transmission and reduces cortisol production. Standing or sitting with the head lower than the knees (pretend to do up your laces), or lying down with legs raised reestablishes blood flow to frontal nets. It's part of our development to find out what sort of things relax us personally and actually practice them when we feel any 'bully' sentiment creeping on. This procedure is also useful for 'head rush' experiences when low blood pressure makes us dizzy or 'white out'.

3 If you use anxiolytics, use some now. Hot drinks are good, but DO NOT EAT because you'll get indigestion and stomach cramps (bully hormones shut down our digestive tract). Go outside if you can unless it is very polluted and noisy. Don't stay around other people if they're showing sentiment too. It's best to quarantine yourself for a while, unless there's anyone to be with who helps you calm down. Even then, try not to talk. Sitting in a quiet garden is perfect.

4 If you fear silence or solitude, or you really, really can't sit still, put on some party music and dance. Dance your ass off. Deliberately direct your thoughts to pleasant memories and things that make you laugh. (This can be a challenge at first but comes with practice.) Play games, either physical sports or computer gaming. If at all possible without being rude, don't resume any conversation until you feel okay again. It's fine to tell people you're not feeling quite yourself right now; or you're feeling a bit confused; because that's the absolute truth.


When you feel better, take the opportunity while the experience is still fresh of thinking about how the virus tried to start, how you stopped it, and what those changes felt like.

Finally, we should congratulate ourselves and give ourselves a treat. -Some virus tried to take us over and make us behave like an asshole, and we stopped it. Hardly anyone knows how to do that. And it's really cool. So go ahead -give yourself a little gift that you'll enjoy. And make this victory the start of a new healthy habit.

If bully viruses hassle you a lot, look at your diet and sleeping patterns. Your glutamate and norepinephrine might be high, and that can make you vulnerable. Avoid processed foods, sugar and cereals. Concentrate more on yourself, and how you can improve yourself, rather than thinking about other people. Don't dress to please or impress others when you're at home alone; dress to be comfortable and relaxed. Try to spend more time by yourself enjoying the things that you like to do alone. Learn about yourself. Keep an eye on your initial responses to people and try to notice what situations get you stressed out. It is likely that incongruities cause sudden 'crashes' in rational thinking, and you may misunderstand events sometimes. Interactional Analysis as a long-term strategy for incongruous association is discussed below.


For 'wimp' viruses:

1 Do something. Get off your ass and tidy things away, clean up, do your laundry, vacuum the lawn, or whatever boring, domestic, tedious tasks need doing. This accomplishes three things: (a) The physical exercise involved will adjust our ANS towards the green zone, (b) the improved appearance of our surroundings will provide healthier input control plus raise serotonin/self esteem levels and (c) we might as well get all the boring crap done while not feeling too great.

2 Have a relaxing hot bath, eat some good nutritional food.

3 Laugh. Watch any comedy, read something amusing, laugh it up. We should have at this stage in NH a collection of things that we can use for our own amusement, so if you don't have yours, get started. Pick a selection and vote for whatever you find most amusing. Collect your favorites; they are valuable NH tools.

4 Go to sleep whenever you're tired, wake up when you're not, without an alarm clock. Make a habit of this.

When you feel better, take the opportunity while the experience is still fresh of thinking about how the virus tried to start, how you stopped it, and what those changes felt like.


Finally, congratulate yourself for finally finding your personal power. The wimp virus turns people into robot zombies, and hardly anyone knows it's in there; never mind how to stop it, so well done you! Get yourself a treat of something you like, and make sure to employ the same tactics if the virus tries to get you again.

If you get regular hassle from wimp viruses, check your diet and sleeping habits. You may be deficient in some vitamins and minerals. It's also possible your serotonin or dopamine is low. Avoid processed food and eat more fruit, veg and fish. Concentrate on improving externals especially communication, and think more about other people than yourself at such times. If you haven't joined the forum, do so. No post is too small, and you can be anonymous. If you are really shy, by taking this step you immediately help those too anxious to take it yet! If you have hobbies or interests, join other forums too. Talk to others with the same interests. Think about how you can improve situations and help others you care about.

Keep an eye on your memory and be aware if it has a habit of dragging you off onto unpleasant past events. Co counseling as a long term strategy for memory reweighting is discussed below. These techniques can give us some extra protection while we're moving out of action/reaction responses back into healthy responses.

Core counseling

practical core counseling beginners' exercises

1 Good news

We can start a session as client by telling our 'counselor' about "good" things, big or small, that have happened in our life lately. It could be the beautiful sunset we saw last night, or a new interest, or a great movie we recently saw, or a problem we figured out last week. The idea is to give ourself a chance to notice the things that are going well. (This is especially a good idea if we feel discouraged. It helps remind us that maybe things aren't as bad as they feel.) Sometimes people spend whole Co-Counseling sessions just telling "good news" and leave feeling much more positive and thinking more clearly.

2 Recent issues

If something has happened recently that we are concerned or alarmed about, a Co-Counseling session is a good place to talk about it. We can tell as much or as little about it as we would like, and we can tell it once or we can tell it over and over. We will probably find that lots of our problems seem to get much smaller if we just get a chance to talk about them without someone trying to give us advice or solve them for us. We will find, more often than not, that we can think of a good solution if we just have someone hear us out and show some confidence in us while we feel concern and talk about the problem. Sometimes, just talking something through to a listener helps us to clarify it for ourselves.

3 Goals

It helps to set goals for ourself or review our progress towards goals that we have already set. This is a useful thing to do when we are client in a Co-Counseling session. We talk through the different periods of our future, roughly deciding what we would like to accomplish tomorrow, next week, this year, in the next five years, in the next twenty years, in our lifetime. As we talk about each future period, we can think through the steps that we will need to take to reach these goals. Regularly reviewing our goals and any apparent obstacles will tend to assist us in achieving them.

4 Self Appreciation

Most of us have been belittled or mistreated enough that it is now difficult for us to feel good about ourselves. We have been "blamed" for things when we were doing our best. We have been called liars when we are telling the truth. We have been told many untrue things. We have been told that if we like ourselves, we are "arrogant” or “conceited" and that we shouldn't feel good about ourselves. We've even been told that pride in our accomplishments is a sin. This isn't true. People need to feel justly proud of themselves to be healthy. When we do feel good about ourselves, and have high self esteem, we treat other people better, not worse.

In a self-appreciation exercise when we are client, we tell our counselor what we like about ourselves. We tell this to him or her in a tone of voice that sounds like we are proud of ourselves (not "superior," just proud). We tell our counselor this over and over. We may find it difficult, but must stick with it.

When you do this, don't stop yourself from laughing or crying or any other type of discharge. Try to appreciate everything about yourself (everything). When you notice which things feel harder to appreciate (for example, how you look, or how intelligent you are), focus on appreciating those things. You will probably remember incidents from your life of being criticized, blamed, or mistreated. These incidents will be good to write down and look at and talk about in a full counseling session when you are client.

example of Core counseling session


For each person to feel safe to talk about whatever s/he needs to, it works best to establish where we stand on confidentiality before beginning; you both discuss whether you will or won't discuss sessions with anyone else, and write this down clearly and both sign it. Your relationship in core counseling is a professional one. If you have any other kind of relationship it must not impact this professional attitude and you should not choose a counseling partner who has difficulty controlling sentiment or who cannot reduce anxiety. If you're working alone remember its important to speak out loud, and a voice recorder is your best friend. Those with good imagination can pretend they are talking to whomever they choose; preferably a positive role model or some entity with no sentiment issues such as a robot (we've had some great sessions with C3PO) or some beneficial imaginary character.


Digging up wrongly weighted memories

There are two ways in:

1 If we use our turn as client to talk about something that is bothering us in the present, we can sometimes, after we have had a chance to talk about the upset for awhile, ask ourselves (or our counselor can ask us), "What does this situation or this feeling remind you of? When have you felt like this before?"

We will almost always think of some situation from the past that was hurtful or upsetting in a similar way. It will be plain that old sentiment or anxiety from that time is still lingering in our mind, adding more confusion and bad feelings to the present situation than there would otherwise be. If we can then talk about the earlier situation, what happened then, how we felt, and how it affected us, some of those old sentiments can then be discharged, leaving us with a fresher look at the present difficulty.

2 If we come to our session as client and there seems to be nothing in our present life that we feel able to talk about, we can try telling our life story. Most people have never had a chance to tell their version of the story of their life, and everyone needs a chance to do this. As we tell the story, certain incidents will seem more important in their effect on us, good or bad, than others. These incidents are worth noting down and coming back to and talking about many times in Core Counseling sessions. Getting a chance to review them over and over, with someone who is really listening, can make a surprising difference in our thinking. Bad feelings left over from old, hurtful sentiments (including experiences that we thought we'd “got over”) can come to the surface and discharge, leaving us with a lighter heart, correctly-weighted memory and more congruous thoughts. Good experiences, when reviewed with the attention of a good listener, can also help sentiments from old, difficult times to come up and discharge, and this can help us regain a positive outlook.


Letting Discharge Continue

If we talk about something as client that results in lively talking, laughter, tears, shaking, sweating, or yawning (all forms of unconscious discharge), it's important not to rush on to something else. We must try repeating what we were saying or doing several times, until we are no longer discharging. It's worth doing this over and over for as much time as we can take. The greatest benefits of Core Counseling come after these releases of tension. They make it possible to think and act in ways that have been inhibited before and to re-weight memories with the appropriate emotion instead of sentiment. Recognizing that a memory was weighted by sentiment helps to discharge it, but only discharge itself enables reconsolidation of memory with genuine emotion and without the false sentiment tags.


Ending a Session

At the end of a Core Counseling session, especially if we've been talking about something difficult for us, we should take a few moments to re-direct our thoughts to something we are looking forward to, or to some simple subject we don't feel tense about, for example, the names of some friends or some favorite foods, or some scenery that we enjoy looking at. This helps make a relaxed change from being a client to becoming a counselor if it is your turn to do this, or for going on to other activities.

Some students have had good results with small amounts of alcohol, marijuana, nasal oxytocin or MDMA in counseling, but we should also keep in mind that drugs (including sugary foods) can interfere with the good effects of discharging, and everyone is different. Large amounts of alcohol can render the practice pointless as memories will not reconsolidate coherently. Particularly avoid strong stimulants like amphetamines, sugary drinks, and anything containing glutamate/aspartate (will interfere with reconsolidation). Eat an hour before counseling, not during, and not for an hour after.

If you wish to do core counseling online, and don't feel confident enough to share, a perfect place is the PG forum under a nickname. That way, if anyone quotes it, it's clear you were only 'playing a game' : ) You can also ask on the forum if anyone wants to be counseling partner.

If you wish to do private core counseling, mail alex privately, but be aware you are in a queue and may only get one session a month, plus you do have the obligation to be counselor and patiently read through someone else's problems : )

Self hypnosis practice

Illusory Choice Algorithms

When we use self hypnosis, we want to restrict the attention to one particular area of experience. We don't want our attention wandering off all over the place. A neat way of doing this is to give the illusion of a set of choices in our hypnotic language. This holds attention as the unconscious believes it is considering and making choices.

An example would be "You can go just as relaxed, calm or peaceful as you wish". You get the feeling that you have a choice, but all those choices are pleasant.


Adjunctive Suggestions

To make a suggestion more likely to be accepted, you can tag it onto the end of a 'truism', or something that is undoubtedly true. Examples below; suggestions are in upper case:

"You can sit in that chair and BEGIN TO RELAX." "You can listen to my voice and NOTICE HOW MUCH MORE COMFORTABLE YOU ARE BEGINNING TO FEEL." "You can wake up tomorrow and just BE AWARE OF A GENTLE SENSE OF CONFIDENCE."



“Getting over a bad relationship”: Self-Hypnosis script


UPPER CASE = words & phrases requiring special attention or emphasis

P1 = pause for approximately 10 seconds

P2 = pause for approximately 20 seconds


Record yourself reading this aloud or get an assistant to read it for you:


“This session will help you to really COME TO TERMS with the end of the particular relationship you have in mind… and will enable you to MOVE ON emotionally… and feel fresh and open to life again!

When a relationship ends, even when you know it had to, it can be diffIcult to manage your emotions for a while. The old cliché that ‘time is the great healer’ is absolutely true, but sometimes it can take much longer than you think it should. So we can give time a helping hand in putting that relationship well and truly into the past as far as your emotions are concerned. This doesn’t mean that you will forget about what was good about that relationship if you don’t want to – let’s face it – just about all relationships have happy elements to them, at least in the beginning.

Following this deeply relaxing session, you’ll notice that the relationship will start to take up less time and space in your mind and you will expend less emotional energy ruminating over it.

So let’s do a little preparation for this. You’ll remember that there have been times in your life when you were doing things that felt extremely important at the time. You might have been trying to learn a new skill… starting something new… meeting someone for the frst time… you know the sort of occasion – and at the time it felt like a big thing… but now it feels like it’s behind you. So as a kind of practice for getting the feeling of the past being in the past, just take a few seconds now to review something from a long time ago that felt like a big deal at the time, but seems pretty insignifcant now… just think about that now…


...And that is the kind of thinking you’ll be able to develop about that relationship, and you’ll find you can actually practise getting that more detached feeling on a daily basis.


mention another important aspect. Often people think that the latest relationship was somehow ‘meant to be’ or that it was ‘the one’, which can lead to feelings that you may never have another relationship as good or intense in the future. This is an illusion. There are literally millions of potential partners out there, hundreds of thousands of which would meet your needs. It’s the emotion you are feeling at the moment that leads to that sort of thought, but it is not true, so please don’t be fooled by the feeling that there’s only one person for you… it’s so easy to get that idea. There will be opportunities for you in the future, whether you believe me or not… THE FACT REMAINS...So now you can SETTLE yourself in a nice COMFORTABLE way and allow yourself to begin to appreciate the possibility that you can RELAX DEEPLY AND CALMLY and just let the eyes gently close as RELAXATION starts to drift all about you and laps gently through your muscles sweeping DEEP REST and a wonderful KIND of RELEASE through that body, and your mind can take a vacation away from usual thoughts and feelings, seeing them get more distant as you RELAX through time and even the air around the skin can start to FEEL SO MUCH MORE RELAXED...


...And of course any of the good old times are still there from anything that you’ve experienced

and that’s fine but the real thing that your unconscious mind needs to learn and REALLY LEARN is that good feelings from good times actually come from inside you and therefore will be there again in the FUTURE in different types of times with different people that’s it and you know that actually a very deep part of you can now start to feel very SOOTHED and REASSURED in such a COMFORTING way as a part of you notices that you can JUST CONTINUE TO RELAX DEEPER so BEAUTIFULLY AND SERENELY like the surface of beautifully calm water so clear and CALM...


...And there comes to be a KIND of strange COMFORT in knowing that all things pass and that we can benefit from others on our individual paths through life but that all people MOVE ON and LOOK FORWARD TO DRINKING IN FUTURE BENEFITS OF PEOPLE YOU HAVEN'T EVEN MET YET with an unspoken sense of excitement and optimism at future possibilities which are there whether you know it or not that’s it and even as you continue to drift so SOOTHINGLY in a trance of pure REST and TRANQUILITY you can really begin perhaps even for the very first time to review that whole relationship from a totally new and distanced point of view like watching it from a great CALM distance through space and time notice what it’s like to view it through a different lens much further away with incredible objectivity and SOOTHING detachment...


...And you like everybody, have experienced the flow of time many years ago what now feels like the dim and distant past the present at that time felt very real present concerns and interests were very current but now feel so unimportant and DISTANT in time people you knew at the time on a daily basis even felt very relevant then but that was years ago and time and associations and experiences MOVE ON with your life changing things you really worried about at that time you can’t even remember now time moves on like the fast and slow currents of a stream sometimes flowing over smooth pebbles sometimes SOOTHING over rocks and underwater river sand as TIMES MOVE ON...


And one day this time now will FEEL VERY DISTANT IN TIME like when you are close up to something seeing only the trees, and then as you MOVE AWAY the whole wood comes into view with the DISTANCE and PERSPECTIVE of time seeing the whole picture and having great detachment on the situation as just a part of the over all picture of your life...


...This very time right now as you RELAX TO THIS will one day be exactly a year ago and how does that feel when this point in your life is a year ago? The feeling of that relationship settling down into its appropriate place in your life...


...And it’s true that this time will be ten years ago and much has changed and moved on in ten years new and exciting things have happened and are happening and on the rare occasion that you look back from your future to the past relationship in question NOTICE HOW IT REALLY FEELS NOW LIKE A LONG TIME AGO and also NOTICE THE NEW HEALTHY ASPECTS TO YOUR LIFE NOW IN THE FUTURE look back from that far distant place in the future at that past relationship and just review it dispassionately and objectively the way a scientist might just examine a past curiosity and really NOTICE WHAT IT FEELS LIKE WHEN IT DOESN'T MATTER MUCH TO YOU ANY MORE, REALLY LEARN AND NOTICE THAT WHEN IT NOW FEELS SO DISTANT...


...And life is made up of many different aspects and parts and many different focuses and we can sometimes over-focus– for a while – in one direction at the expense of things we used to do and ENJOY and it can FEEL GOOD to focus again on THINGS TO ENJOY...


...Like it’s just ftted back into it’s natural place as just another part of life’s overall pattern down to experience and REALLY BEGINNING TO NOTICE THINGS TO LOOK FORWARD TO from the future...


...And you can repeat this experience in DEEP REST and RELAXATION any time you need to and for now you can JUST BEGIN THE PROCESS OF STARTING TO DRIFT BACK TO THE ROOM feeling very refreshed and revitalised and with a very real sense of growing CALM about things that’s it really starting to come back and opening those eyes feeling alert and relaxed good!




Exercises for improving emotional and behavioral competence

Working together with a partner

We don't have to wait until things go wrong to start improving our emotional competence. Obviously, knowing how to reduce anxiety in ourselves makes things easier. Calming down is a very constructive step, and without it we won't get very far. We can work with a partner (who also knows NH basics) to practice coping when discussing difficult topics, obviously it's great if close friends and loved ones can do this together, but it does not need to be a bonded partner; a fellow student or an assistant familiar with emotion and sentiment will do fine.


Pulse biofeedback

can be very useful. To set it up, both parties monitor their pulse while feeling calm and treat that as a 'baseline'. Next, find a topic that you don't agree on and argue your case, each monitoring your pulse as you do so (count your pulse for 15 seconds & multiply by 4). If the pulse rate rises more than ten beats per minute during discussion, we become more vulnerable to virus attacks. It takes a twenty-minute break to calm down sufficiently to pursue the discussion.


Once we get to experience and pay attention to the moment we become vulnerable, and set up with our partner an agreement that we can call 'time out' at the first signs of vulnerability. Time out can be spent initiating the relaxation response by whatever means we use.



Taking turns speaking and then having each other repeat the basics back is a great self-assessment technique as well as a helpful exercise. The first person explains a problem and why it is a problem, then the second person explains it back. If they haven't paid attention or have misunderstood, this becomes immediately apparent. Once the first speaker feels understood, they swap round (second partner addresses the problem, first partner explains what they heard.) The effect of being mirrored accurately makes one feel understood and improves emotional sync between partners, and this is a fabulous exercise for couples who misunderstand each other a lot or who have difficulty paying attention and listening without interruption. This is good for disarming imminent virus attacks and is a very good conflict-solving technique.

Interruption is often caused through the interrupter's fear that if they do not speak now, they will forget what points they wished to contest. This habit must be curbed if we are to learn emotional competence. Let the details go and concentrate on the basics: what is the problem behind the words? Often the real problem is trying to solve problems while anxious!


What to do if the sewage truck crashes into the windmill

If we feel we have a serious complaint or genuine grievance against a partner, there is an optimal formula used in conflict resolution.[148] It is called XYZ:

“When you (did X), I felt (Y), and I'd rather you (did Z) instead.”

Here are some examples:

“When you (didn't call me to say you'd be late for our meeting), I felt (disrespected and concerned). I'd rather you (call to tell me if you're going to be late).”

This format allows for no sentimental behavior (such as bullying, insults, threats or reacting with a criticism), and no wimping out or using defenses (such as excuses, denying responsibility, or laying blame). It also encourages empathy.

Telling the truth, such as, “I'm really sorry you're upset and I'd really like to calm down and take it easy on ourselves” is a good tactic.

Because these manuvers have to be employed in the heat of battle, as it were, when we are bound to be vulnerable to sentiment, they have to be practiced with diligence and patience at first. We tend to snapback into automatic habits under too much strain, so partners with chronic difficulties need to begin by rehearsing these techniques on non-stressful subjects before starting to work on the actual problems facing the relationship. We need the healthy responses to become the default responses, and the best way to replace a program is to run its healthy counterpart regularly and determinedly.

Finally, the core conditions should always be our guide to whether or not interaction is taking place. If they are not being met, it isn't.


Working alone

Virus-checking “self talk”

Talking to ourselves in words (inside our heads), unless for legitimate reasons (for example, mnemonic purposes when learning a procedure, remembering acting lines, or silently practicing a speech) is a sign of unrest as well as the sign of a diet rich in processed foods, and high glutamate.

When we get a viral attack, one of the first things a virus takes over is the 'inner voice', and from that point on all we hear is the virus talking. The inner voice saying things like, “I'm not going to put up with this any longer”, “This dude is such an asshole” or “This is so unfair” reveals wimp virus 'victim' thoughts; whereas “That bastard's got it coming” or “These unfortunates must be treated thusly for their own good, poor things” betrays a bully virus at work. By catching these inner thoughts and challenging them, rather than getting caught up in them, we can begin to set ourselves free. This is more for advanced users but it's going in here because some people pick it up fast. It requires monitoring such thoughts, realizing that they are of viral origin and not anything to do with what our own mind thinks, and making the intentional effort to bring to mind evidence or perspectives that question them and prove them untrue.

For example, someone who feels (when in sentiment) that their partner “Doesn't care about my needs” could challenge these thoughts by reminding themselves of a number of things their partner has done that are in real life thoughtful. Then we can turn the viral thought into a statement of truth such as “They do show they care about me sometimes, even though that behavior just then seemed thoughtless and inconsiderate -perhaps they're tired or stressed out?” This reweighting of inner thought allows the possibility of change and overwriting there on the spot.

Some people prefer to shut the inner voice up completely when it goes viral, by chanting or singing, hypnosis or meditation. Knowing how to do both is the best option, but either will help. Another option with viral thoughts is the 'no nonsense' technique, in which we say to ourselves, “Wait a minute; these are stupid viral thoughts! Bugger off, viral thoughts; this brain ain't big enough for the two of us, and I'm using it at the moment.” and so on. Personally I like, “Get off my ship, slimeballs”. Sometimes this makes us laugh at the absurdity of viral programs and over time this teaches the brain to repel them in this manner automatically whenever they start.


Interactional Analysis practice: Moonshine

Here's an example of interactional analysis with 'pessimistic' or 'optimistic' points of view in mind:


Alice gets caught with some illegal moonshine in her shed. The cops, during her interview, tell her that she was reported by one of her own housemates. On returning home she tells her friends.

Bob thinks it was Carl, because he saw Carl coming out of the local police station two days before, but doesn't say anything.

Carl says he suspects Donna, who's been behaving real weird lately and drinking a lot.

Donna says it was most likely Carl, who is now blaming her in an attempt to cover his own ass. Alice says the cops were just trying to figure out who made the moonshine, are full of crap, and none of her friends would ever do such a thing.



1 Who is seeing people in the best light?

2 Is Bob interacting?

3 Is Carl interacting?

4 Is Donna interacting?

5 Is Alice interacting?

6 Who is seeing others in a bad light?

7 Who is most likely to be lying?

Answers at end of tutorial


Spotting sentiments and getting rid of them

Here are some useful clues and tips for spotting sentiment:

Separation Anxiety

In emotional bonding on persons over the age of seven, there is no pain of separation in healthy relationships, because there is no anxiety and no fear of loss. Plenty of oxytocin keeps cortisol levels at a minimum. In sentimental adherence (what sentiment does instead of bonding), separation causes pain and depression, as high cortisol turns into even higher cortisol during fear of loss and feelings of abandonment. The HPA axis is working so hard, our adrenal glands can actually weigh more! With low cortisol, this response doesn't happen, bonding remains strong and there is no worry on separation.[149]


Use the information we already know

Hopefully we can use some of the information from tutorials to do some sentiment-spotting privately both in ourselves and others’ expressed feelings and behavior. If we look carefully at the sentiment lists in T9 and the Difficult List in this tutorial, we can even tell which emotion circuit is being ‘taken over’ by sentiment (sympathy replaces empathy, hubris (unjustified pride) replaces pride, arrogance (unjustified confidence) replaces confidence, unhealthy panic replaces the healthy fight/flight response, and so on). If we find that we most often experience sentiments from the ‘nonuse’ column, then we can tell which of our networks are underused by noting which sentiments we feel. If we find that we suffer more often from the ‘wronguse’ sentiments, we can see which of our networks is being used for the wrong things by noting which of these sentiments we experience. Work this out for yourself so that you get to know them; it’s much faster than a full Functional Analysis and if you are able to be mature, sensible and honest about yourself it is just as accurate. You will have an invaluable tool –a blueprint for your NH plan to achieve optimal intelligence.

Know yourself, and don’t let anxiety rob you of this totally cool tool. Realize that our ability to judge ourselves and our own behavior objectively, maturely and honestly is a measure of our intelligence. Use your intelligence to its full when assessing when and in what situations you use sentiment instead of emotion. Don’t short-change yourself at this stage by trying to create a picture of what you want to be like or how you’d like others to see you, because an honest realistic assessment sheet is one of the most powerful tools a neurohacker can have, and we must look for the accurate truth despite any anxiety about what we might find out about ourselves and with absolute resolve to “cut the bullshit”. If you do not feel confident enough to assess yourself with clear judgment, don’t assess yourself yet. Keep practicing anxiety reduction until you feel more confident about being able to keep a clear scientific perspective without personal or emotional value judgments.

Fooling ourselves (especially unconsciously) is one of the sneaky little dragons we must sometimes fight, because let’s face it, nobody wants to deliberately prove to themselves that their mind is currently only working at half its capacity! The important thing is to focus on why emotional assessment is necessary –it gives us a ready-made plan for improving our mental health very fast!) If you have difficulty remaining objective it may help to pretend you are assessing someone else, to pretend you are Mr Spock, or to remind yourself of the truth that you are simply computing facts here that will give you powerful abilities faster.

We may, like many others before us, find our feelings have been switching between nonuse sentiments and wronguse ones. This can even happen within the same network; it happens when an underused network is only fired up in certain circumstances. For example; someone who feels ashamed, worried and guilty much of the time when alone may suddenly find themselves feeling superior, prudish and authoritarian in social situations. This does not mean that social situations are good for our self esteem! The sooner we recognize sentiments for what they are the better, because we can replace them with healthy emotional responses that are much more wholesome and much less hassle.


emotion, behavior and results in terms of wellbeing and success

This is one of the easiest ways to spot sentiment. All sentiments, produced as they are from a background of anxiety, work against our survival and success. If we think of the usual natural outcomes of behaviors such as panic or jealousy, coercion or aggression, we will see what is meant. Sentiments and their associated behaviors lead us into unhealthy situations, physically, socially and psychologically. They become habitual, which is why it’s important to maintain a healthy emotional stability and throw out any sentiments the moment they arise. Sentiments cause stupid behavior; they make us behave like “the baddies”. And we’re not. We are the good guys; the heroes.

Sentiments can be triggered from within, from our surroundings, or by examples from others, which is why we should learn about and practice input control. They don’t cause anything but dysfunction, lowering the body’s immune response and poisoning it, so if we’ve gotten into the habit of feeling sentiments we must get into the new habit of replacing them with the corresponding healthy emotions. That means spotting the sentiment, identifying what emotion we should be feeling instead, looking for examples of it and concentrating on feeling it, and it also means recognizing the truth about what “success” mean Success in the terms of intelligence is not about competition, like fighting and winning in a row (as Darwin tried to explain, although nobody listened!) it is about cooperating in creative interaction such as argument to find out the truth so that everybody wins.

If the truth itself is lost, hidden or confused, everybody loses. Personal success is getting into a position where we never have to feel anxious, because we are mature and competent (intelligent) enough to adapt and interact in varied circumstances. Any behavior or feeling that isolates us from other possible allies and further interaction is not good for our health and we should recognize that.

Sometimes it’s easier than others to tell the difference. Many sentiments don’t resemble real emotions at all, for example jealousy or guilt. There is just no real equivalent for these in a healthy mind. Focusing on developing empathy will help to get rid of jealousy and possession because we will start to share other people’s enjoyment and also see the real meanings behind their behavior. Knowing what is really going on will give us a big boost in confidence. The practice of rectitude, respect and appreciation can help too –once we realize that it is impossible for anyone to ‘belong’ to anyone else we will see that many sentiments are not related to reality but to anxiety as a fear of loss. We cannot lose something we never owned! We have no automatic right to even one second of anyone else’s company, so should appreciate all the moments they are generous enough to share with us. Spiritual practices and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can help us to access this perspective, but anxiety must be reduced first.

Sometimes we will ask ourselves questions like “But if I did something really shitty in the past, shouldn’t I feel guilty for being such an asshole?” Questions like this ignore reality. You were never ‘an asshole’ –you were a person with a malfunctioning network behaving like an asshole due to a virus –and what you should feel is sorrow that such things happen to us that slow down our growth, empathy with anyone still stuck there, and determination never to get that stuck yourself again. These are real emotions and their results are a better, healthier you. The result of guilt, or other sentiments, is depression, lowered immunity …you get it? Emotion is there to help solve problems, sentiment just encourages us to wallow and remain stuck in them.



Some sentiments do resemble the emotions they usurp. With these we must look for justification. The emotions of pride, confidence, suspicion, and alarm can all be verified by justification. The sentiments of hubris, arrogance and paranoia cannot.

If there is no sensible, survival-linked justification for a feeling, it’s probably a sentiment. If a feeling is unpleasant and we cannot think of a reason why a sensible person would need to feel it, it’s probably a sentiment. Disgust is justified if we tread in shit because shit is dangerous to our health. Disgust at someone expressing hatred is also justified –because hatred is dangerous to our health. Feeling hatred itself is never justified - because it’s dangerous to our health.

Genuine emotions are never dangerous to health. Even the stress response that releases a burst of cortisol to catapult us into ‘fight or flight’ to save our lives is no danger as long as we are able to relax afterwards and turn off that stress response. Defensiveness does not imply anger. If it sounds impossible to you that you could effectively defend yourself using deadly force without feeling any anger at all, go watch some martial arts masters.

Paranoia is unjustified suspicion. We can be sure we’re feeling justified suspicion only if there seems to be hard evidence that something dodgy is going on; for example as a detective we can assess the circumstances and reduce our suspicion if there is no proof, maintaining alertness and awareness while we follow up any clues. ‘Something dodgy’ means an actual real threat to human survival, and these are rare unless we ARE a detective or live next to a volcano or in a seriously violent area.

A classic paranoid belief is that someone is bugging the victim or recording everything they say, spreading rumors about them or sending them secret messages. A healthy mind’s response to this would be “Who cares?” This is not a survival threat, and if somebody really did have nothing better to do than bugging our house or sending us unsolicited secret messages (unless we’re a secret agent), then they’re a loony, and that’s just unfortunate for them and a massive sad waste of their time; it isn't our problem.

Other people’s opinions are not normally a threat to our survival. It is always good to be aware of possible deceit, but suspicion and alarm should be reserved for those potential threats that could justifiably cause actual harm in real life.

Sentiment is based on a simulation of reality –an imagined perception of reality in which high anxiety is assessed as ‘justified’ on a constant basis because the brain is wired to tell us that (usually though indoctrination by anxious adults as we grow, and TV later). Emotion is based on reality itself, in which anxiety is never justified, because it is harmful. -Now we can see why we can’t feel emotion and sentiment at the same time.


Check the underlying perception and beliefs, retrospectively

Sometimes sentiments are harder to spot because they may superficially resemble emotions (in body language etc) but the resemblance is skin deep. Idolization or clinginess can look from the outside very like love or lust, especially to the inexperienced! Sympathy can be mistaken for empathy; arrogance can be (and often is) mistaken for confidence, authoritarianism for rectitude and of course, greed for need. Even from the inside, the difference isn’t always immediately apparent. Are we crying because we’re really unhappy, or because we feel sorry for ourselves, or because we’re angry that we’re so pathetic, or because we feel guilty for not really feeling anything? To do our best to apprehend both the truth and falsehoods, asking ourselves such questions some time after an event can help us to spot sentiment much more effectively than doing so during the event.

In sentiment the underlying ontology (set of beliefs) is that the most important thing in the world is “whatever improves what other people and society think of us”, because we are dependent on the structures of society for everything. It’s impossible trying to mentally position self interest as opposite to altruism and feeling guilty when we choose self interest. Life doesn’t make sense. One person wins and another one loses in every single circumstance? That’s ignoring some very big factors in evolution –adaptation and variation, for a start. Individuals gifted in different types of behavior ‘win’ in different situations, and unconsciously we know that any hierarchy based on just one ability or characteristic only is nonsensical in reality.

In emotion the underlying ontology is that we are dependent on the performance of intelligence for everything, so the most important thing in the world is “whatever improves intelligence and our health”. It’s simple; interaction and allies benefit intelligence and benefit from intelligence, and they’re good for both ourselves and all those we interact with. Life makes sense, and everybody wins.

Moderation is a good guide word; most emotions are at first moderate, most sentiments are extreme. Learn to watch for action/ reaction cues caused by sentiment (what causes a desire to thump someone, or to sulk, as well as actual actions such as catching ourselves yelling or grumbling), this is quite difficult to do at first in real time, but we can look back in retrospect at past incidents and recognize when our actions or words must have been based on sentiment, so that we know what sort of situation to look out for in future. Self control will develop with practice and as it does, confidence will increase and any arrogance or timidity will start to disappear.

Check the duration and onset time

Sentiment usually comes on with a strong 'rush' of overwhelming feeling, and feels very powerful but fades slowly unless associated input continues. Emotion begins more slowly, and grows stronger regardless of input. Emotion only uses a strong initial physical response in situations of sudden defense, alarm or surprise.

Emotion lasts, long after the input triggers have gone that began it in the first place. Sentiment will wear off unless the input is regularly refreshed. If we are crying, for example, with genuine emotion because, say, someone has died, we cannot stop feeling that way for quite a while no matter how many distractions are offered. If we're crying with sentiment because, say, some animated, big-eyed, baby deer just died in a movie, we can turn off that feeling in an instant if our friends suddenly arrive with beer, munchies or the latest PC game.

Sentiment isn’t real. Ten minutes later we won't even remember we felt that way; we'll be shooting aliens, or eating and talking, and feeling completely different.

We can see the ‘fading’ effect of sentiment in the idolization of lovers, gods, or famous people. The worshiper carries ‘triggers’ (pictures of or works written by or about the idol, icons, talismans, letters, tattoos or some ‘reminder’ of them), everywhere they go. This is unconscious deliberate input control, aimed at maintaining the sentiment. Whenever the feelings start to fade, they are unconsciously reinforced by looking at the image, words, music, deliberately triggering thoughts of the beloved. This is never necessary in emotion, where left alone, love will slowly increase, not decrease with time.

Check your physical health

Excess cortisol is a poison; it kills us by eroding our telomeres and causing rapid aging, and by inducing the genetic changes responsible for metabolic syndrome, compromised immunity and cancer. Our body may show signs of its toxicity before our mind. This is biology’s way of saying, “stop poisoning yourself”.

Bully viruses are associated with heart conditions, thrombosis and underactive immunity disorders such as cancer and HIV. Wimp viruses are associated with overactive immunity disorders such as allergies and asthma. If you have sudden ‘nervous’ or allergic reactions after interactions, have a look at what behavior went on in the interaction, and what sentiments may have been present. If we know that we experience sentiments and we are permanently overweight, find it difficult to lose weight, or have any symptoms of metabolic syndrome (diabetes, heart & lung problems) we should learn about nutrition and its place in epigenetics, because we can achieve enormous changes in just a few months, and if we stick at it, can reverse the genetic expression that causes metabolic syndrome. (At which point you can eat what you like and not gain weight. Consult the article in NHA Library/basics called 'optimal nutrition for beginners' to find out more about this).

Working on removing sentiment and achieving emotional stability will help us to achieve this faster as our brain chemistry will be better balanced and our mood brighter.


Neurochemistry, physiology and tech

The difference between emotion and sentiment can be scientifically measured, of course, because sentiment does not cause the same chemical changes in the brain as genuine emotion. If you have access to lab equipment and really want to see the figures, if you're running sentiment you'll have elevated cortisol and histamine levels in both your brain and bloodstream, usually with lowered serotonin, oxytocin and endorphins.

If you don’t have a lab you can use any of various ‘mind machines’ to view your EEG or ‘brainwave’ readout, that can also tell you which networks are currently dominant.

If you don’t have any mind machines you can use a TV to test for sentiment. A good example of sentiment and its associated behavior can be found in most soap operas; in fact it’s what they usually portray. If you find yourself being what you may call “emotionally moved” by this sort of behavior or have behaved in similar ways yourself, you are almost certainly feeling sentiment. If you find yourself feeling only disgust or sadness that people really take this sort of thing seriously and how much harm it does them, and vow never to watch it again, you’re fine.


Look at the type of behaviors and thoughts that the feelings prompt –are they beneficial?

Sentimental behavior is often immature and not merely illogical but sometimes blatantly stupid. It puts our lives in danger through physical violence, panic and carelessness as well as from internal chemical toxins. Watch out for immature 'playground' behavior; sulks, tantrums, melodrama, name-calling and verbal abuse in toto. This should be considered seriously disturbed behavior. Also be wary of any disproportionate response. Sobbing because your beloved friend died is normal; sobbing because someone sexy didn’t phone you is not healthy. Screaming is perfectly reasonable if you are being chased by killer sharks, doing it because you disagree with someone is not.

If you hang out with people who do such things, stop hanging out with them until you are anxiety-free or you will copy their habits. If you are free of sentiment it will never occur to you to use verbal personal attacks. When you see others use them, you will feel perhaps bewilderment and maybe embarrassment at the state of their minds, and then a strong appreciation of your intelligence, and inner contentment.

Sentiment is very outwardly intense; melodramatic, histrionic and overplayed, like a ham actor trying to do drama with a crappy cliched dialogue, eyes wide to imply that it’s serious...but really betraying unconscious fear. Sentiment wants the whole world to know how it feels, but doesn’t know when to stop and when it eventually fades it tires you out, leaving you feeling wound up, confused, or exhausted, like a bad ‘comedown’ off drugs or the mental equivalent of a hangover (due to the toxic effects of cortisol). Emotion is much more ‘private’ and inwardly intense, and it enervates us without making us manic. It affects the mind and body more strongly than the outward behavior implies, comes with a heady feeling of power, and leaves us feeling energized, relaxed, fulfilled or relieved.

Sentiment always implies 'action/reaction' thinking in communication. Emotion always implies interaction and response. Get into the habit of thinking of yourself as ‘responding’ NOT reacting.

Look at long term results and outcomes

Emotions are real, and they'll be with you for life. They are an honest, interactive response to reality, not a fake response to a simulation of it filtered through the shadows of anxiety. If we trace the results of any actions/reactions and behaviors performed under the influence of sentiment, we will find they have led to deleterious ends (including fights, injury, lowered immunity, tantrums, panic attacks, more sentiment, and people no longer speaking to each other.) Interactions that proceed under the influence of real emotion have, on the whole, beneficial results. Strictly, they have results which are evolutionarily beneficial. They may still involve pain, unhappiness or distress, but experiencing and expressing things like grief and sorrow help us to recover from loss or trauma.


Check your response to mistakes

If we are interacting using genuine emotion, we will not feel bad about mistakes, and we will learn from them. People acting/reacting from sentiment make the same mistakes over and over, not learning anything, yet feeling guilt, shame, anger or regret every time.

Use Interactional Analysis

Practice ‘reading between the lines’ with interactional analysis and spotting the thoughts and beliefs behind other people’s surface words and actions. This can help you spot sentiment in yourself and others.

The ‘background context’ of sentiment is mainly anxiety about what other people will think or do. Here are some examples:

If someone repeats something like: "If you comfort a crying baby, you will end up with a spoilt brat”, what they are unconsciously thinking is: (“and what kind of a parent would other people think you are?")

Or, "Smother the child with affection, because it's cute..aah!..” (Because what would other people think of you if you didn’t seem loving or if any harm came to it?... )

“Give often to charity” (to make sure other people know you’re a sympathetic and caring person.)

“Always be sympathetic towards those in trouble” (or other people will think you’re horrible and nobody will be your friend”]

There is NO genuine emotion here, only sentiment, and a series of attempts to (a) deceive other people into thinking that we’re 'good and decent' (because the lack of real emotion makes us aware that we somehow aren’t); and (b) avoid getting blamed if anything goes wrong.

So people raise kids who are either terrified of being abandoned, or whose intelligence is stifled by possession, and who are, themselves, surrounded by anxiety and ever more anxious.

Genuine emotion doesn’t worry about what the neighbors think. It doesn’t have to, because healthy people recognize healthy emotion and will become our allies, and unhealthy people are not the sort of neighbors we’d want to talk to anyhow.

Sentiment twists our perception, because the brain is non-discriminatory about reality, (which is why we are able to cry at movies). If false perception is all around, the images inside our minds will not correspond to reality, but to the falsehood we are surrounded by; the brain won’t be able to tell the difference, just like in The Matrix movie. Perception is easily fooled by false input when everyone else is fooled as well, and it looks so real, and every time we try to question it this anxiety wells up…

Bear in mind that if we’re accustomed to using sentiment we'll also misinterpret other people’s emotions to fit in with the language of sentiment, for example we may mistake the distress of a person at their partner's being late home as “jealousy”, when in fact it is merely a healthy concern for their safety. We may misinterpret confidence as arrogance, (and must ask ourselves if their pride or confidence is justified);  enthusiasm as aggression, (are we being keen or pushy, paranoid or cautious?); humor  as sarcasm, (how seriously are we taking life?); intellectual skill or artistic talent as showing off, interest as possessiveness, and so on. If we are anxious, we tend to twist all input through a screening for how sinister, shocking or disgusting it might be, and the impression given by sentiment will be that most things are a threat and must be avoided either by being destroyed, avoided or deceived. Anxiety itself makes everything viewed appear more fearful, so if we don’t find anything suspicious we can even get suspicious that everything seems a bit “too good to be true” –a classic sentimental cliche.

Operating from the basis of sentiment, we will also be vulnerable to brainwashing by unscrupulous persons, affected by deleterious input, rumor, gossip and outright lies. We must bear all this in mind when assessing events in retrospect. We must be very, very careful of how we label our emotions or sentiments verbally, and battle to avoid feeling obvious sentiments such as guilt when we fail to progress as quickly as we’d like. We have to remember that in the war against anxiety and deception, the truth is inevitably the best weapon, and it’s important to get a clear honest picture of our current emotion/sentiment ratio and then start to tune ourselves in to full emotion.



N4's bias for a left side view shows up in the way we unconsciously portray and choose to view things. Go to your favorite site for getting images and type in the search bar “human brain from side”.

Count how many pictures are showing the brain's left side:

Count how many pictures are showing the right side.

Interesting isn't it?



Answers to Self Assessment: Have we understood interaction?

1 Can we interact with ourselves? Yes. Sensorimotor interact gives us graceful motion via smooth, synchronized congruous mind/body interaction.

2 With objects? Yes. A drummer and their instrument is a good example. Synchronized interaction with objects is necessary for dexterity and complex tool use.

3 With places? Yes. All interaction with the environment includes knowing what is happening where and what is likely to happen where. We get to know the local conditions, weather etc and develop the ability to predict the patterns of how conditions in different areas change.

4 With others? Yes; in lots of ways. Cultural, diplomatic, or cooperative interaction is achieved by in-context appropriate behavior. We interact behaviorally with others in contexts such as orchestras, dancing, synchronized motion and in being 'crowd smart' (not bumping into each other when moving around in crowds). We also interact with others in modeling as we learn from them, and empathy enables emotional and chemical interaction with others.

5 With animals? Yes. It's essential in synchronized horse riding or we end up with a very sore ass.

6 With events? Yes; this just means displaying the behavior and emotion congruous with and appropriate to a series of events; in other words, interacting IS synchronizing with events in real time and making the appropriate response.

7 With constructs? Yes. Our ability to do things with machines is testimony to this.

8 With reality? Yes; it's called being in the Zone if it continues over time and its called insight if it's short term (see future tutorials).

9 With the planet? Yes. We interact with environment via circadian rhythms on a physiological level, and via ecological interaction on the behavioral level.

10 Can two or more inanimate objects interact? Yes. There's a great live example here:[84]

11 Do you think synesthesia is a type of sensory interaction? Yes. Now that multisensory neurons are a proven reality, we can understand how all senses can be 'translated' in terms of each other.


Answers to Interactional Analysis practice: NASA

1 Alice is interacting.

2 Carl is reacting, talking in cliches while unconsciously wimping out, -'well, what can we do?' Gena is reacting; using sympathy & victimization. 'Well, what can we do?' Hank the barman is reacting; using 'blind faith' statements to cover the unconscious message, 'well, what can we do?'

3 Bob is acting, being a bit bully, and using reasoning to preach. Donna is acting; unconsciously saying I'm better than you; a bit bully. Eve is acting; minimizing Alice's issue as not being worthy of attention, bully behavior. Freddie is acting by criticizing; more bully behavior.

4 A good way for you to interact in this situation would be to ask Alice if she wants to talk about it, or if she has found out why she was rejected, or what mission she'd like to apply for next, what's her next project, or what are her plans now. If you have had similar experiences in other contexts, (for example being rejected for a sports team or failing a test), you could share them and talk about how you felt at the time.


Answers to Interactional analysis practice: Obelix:

1 Obelix and Alice, and later other staff

2 Each other and their environment

3 Bob, Carl and Donna were reacting -”Well, what can we do?” Eve was acting, aggressively to coerce Obelix.

4 Carl and Donna were judging Obelix in the worst possible light. Bob's lack of knowledge prevented him seeing the problem.

5 Alice's interaction with Obelix changed the perception and so behavior of the staff. The staff then interacted with Obelix and got cooperation -everybody wins.


Answers to Interactional analysis practice: Inheritance

1 All the members are interacting with their friends, which is why their discussion is going on.

2 Donna has the most interactive plan. Carl's isn't bad.

3 Alice and Eve have plans that don't interact with the environment, which will almost certainly lose as they gain. Alice and Eve are not interacting with culture, because they are advocating a dependant path and ignoring a chance for autonomy.

4 Bob and Eve are reacting

5 Bob's picture of reality is missing humanity out of 'nature'. Eve fails to see a huge opportunity for benefit (the “Framing” bias).


Answers to Interactional analysis practice: Moonshine

1 Alice is seeing people in the best light

2 Bob is not interacting. He's withholding information despite thinking it important enough to remember.

3 Carl is not interacting, he is acting against Donna without cause

4 Donna is not interacting, she's acting to blame Carl

5 Alice is interacting

6 Everyone except Alice is seeing someone in a bad light

7 Donna is most likely to be lying; in anxious counter-action to Carl's unfounded accusation.



*Choose one that's not being used.

**With the possible exception of the brass section, who are in a deep interactive relationship with the nearest bar.

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19 For advanced practitioners: Penfield and Perot (1963) report that musical hallucinations most frequently result from electrical stimulation of the right superior and lateral surface of the temporal lobe

20 Joseph 1988a; Ross, 1981, 1993; Shapiro & Danly, 1985

21 Reese, 1948

22 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sound_mimesis_in_various_cultures

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77 "'Alarm clock' gene explains wake-up function of biological clock." September 29th, 2011. http://medicalxpress.com/news/2011-09-alarm-clock-gene-wake-up-function.html

78 "Biologists uncover dynamic between biological clock and neuronal activity." September 25th, 2012. http://phys.org/news/2012-09-biologists-uncover-dynamic-biological-clock.html

79 T. Kasukawa et al., “Human blood metabolite timetable indicates internal body time,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1207768109, 2012. Source: TheScientist http://the-scientist.com/2012/08/28/telling-body-time/

80 More information: The paper, "Circadian Rhythm of Redox State Regulates Excitability in Suprachiasmatic Nucleus Neurons," is available online Provided by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign "Metabolism in the brain fluctuates with circadian rhythm." August 28th, 2012. http://medicalxpress.com/news/2012-08-metabolism-brain-fluctuates-circadian-rhythm.html

81 A.C. Silver et al., “The circadian clock controls Toll-like receptor 9-mediated innate and adaptive immunity,” Immunity, 36:251-61, 2012. Source: TheScientist http://the-scientist.com/2012/09/01/a-good-nights-sleep/

82 Holmes, N.; C. Spence (2004). "The body schema and the multisensory representation(s) of peripersonal space". Cognitive processing 5 (2): 94–105. doi:10.1007/s10339-004-0013-3. PMC 1350799. PMID 16467906 Graziano, M.S.A., Hu, X.T., and Gross, C.G (1997). "Coding the locations of objects in the dark". Science 277 (5323): 239-241.ALSO Graziano, M.S.A., Yap, G.S. and Gross, C.G (1994). "Coding of visual space by premotor neurons". Science 266: 1054–1057. The ability to adapt our body schema can backfire after the loss of a limb, causing the condition known as 'phantom limb pain'. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Body_schema#cite_note-Haggard-1

83 Berti, A.; F. Frassinetti (2000). "When far becomes near: Remapping of space by tool use". Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 12 (3): 415–420. doi:10.1162/089892900562237. PMID 10931768. Carlson, T., et al. (2010). "Rapid Assimilation of External Objects Into the Body Schema". Psychological Science 21 (7): 1000–5. doi:10.1177/0956797610371962. PMID 20483818. Johnson-Frey, S. (2004). "The neural bases of complex tool use in humans". Trends in Cognitive Sciences 8 (2): 71–78. doi:10.1016/j.tics.2003.12.002. PMID 15588811. Maravita, A.; A. Iriki (2004). "Tools for the body (schema)". Trends in Cognitive Sciences 8 (2): 79–86. doi:10.1016/j.tics.2003.12.008. PMID 15588812

84 http://www.ted.com/talks/steven_strogatz_on_sync.html

85 Marder E, Bucher D (2001). "Central pattern generators and the control of rhythmic movements". Curr Biol 11: R986-R996. doi:10.1016/S0960-9822(01)00581-4

86 Fries P (2001). "A mechanism for cognitive dynamics: neuronal communication through neuronal coherence". TICS 9: 474–480. Fell J, Axmacher N (2011). "The role of phase synchronization in memory processes". Nat Rev Neurosci 12: 105–118. Schnitzler A, Gross J (2005). "Normal and pathological oscillatory communication in the brain". Nat Rev Neurosci 6 (4): 285–296. doi:10.1038/nrn1650. PMID 15803160

87 Singer W (1993). "Synchronization of cortical activity and its putative role in information processing and learning". Annu Rev Physiol 55: 349–374. doi:10.1146/annurev.ph.55.030193.002025. PMID 8466179

88 Fries P (2001). "A mechanism for cognitive dynamics: neuronal communication through neuronal coherence". TICS 9: 474–480.

89 Schnitzler A, Gross J (2005). "Normal and pathological oscillatory communication in the brain". Nat Rev Neurosci 6 (4): 285–296. doi:10.1038/nrn1650. PMID 15803160

90 http://news.sciencemag.org/sciencenow/2010/07/mind-meld-enables-good-conversat.html

91 The astonishing power of sync -edited footage with Bohemian Rhapsody as soundtrack https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pl0vzOMYsUU&feature=fvst

92 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swarm_behavior

93 this natural phenomenon was brilliantly parodied by Douglas Adams in the “Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy” series; where the dolphins all leave the earth shortly before it gets demolished by aliens.

94 Jean Liedloff; The Continuum Concept: http://playpen.icomtek.csir.co.za/~acdc/education/Dr_Anvind_Gupa/Learners_Library_7_March_2007/Resources/books/conconcept.pdf

95 "Before they can speak, babies make friends: study." February 18th, 2012. http://medicalxpress.com/news/2012-02-babies-friends.html

96 "Thinking of a loved one eases painful memories." June 26th, 2012. http://medicalxpress.com/news/2012-06-eases-painful-memories.html

97 http://news.sciencemag.org/sciencenow/2011/12/scienceshot-human-hearts-beat-to.html?ref=em&elq=4aedbf9ce7b94cb9b342caea1436ed28

98 Science

99 "Neural signature of affiliative experience identified in human brain." September 4th, 2012. http://medicalxpress.com/news/2012-09-neural-signature-affiliative-human-brain.html

100 Rogers, C R; “The Necessary and Sufficient Conditions of Therapeutic Personality Change”; The Journal of Consulting Psychology, 21: 95-103 (1957)

101 Beeman 1993; Brownell et al. 1986; Foldi et al. 1983; Gardner et al. 1983; Kaplan et al. 1990; Rehak et al. 1992; Wapner et al. 1981

102 Delis et al. 1986; Hough 1990; Wapner et al. 1981

103 Chilton Pearce, J, Magical Child p42 & Chapter 6, Note 1

104 "Study reveals moderate doses of alcohol increase social bonding in groups." June 29th, 2012. http://medicalxpress.com/news/2012-06-reveals-moderate-doses-alcohol-social.html

105 "Feeling strong emotions makes peoples' brains 'tick together'." May 24th, 2012. http://medicalxpress.com/news/2012-05-strong-emotions-peoples-brains.html

106 Rogers 1964 p 163, cited in Barrett-Lennard, 1997, p105

107 Goleman, D; Emotional Intelligence; https://www.amazon.co.uk/Emotional-Intelligence-Daniel-Goleman/dp/055384007X

108 Larry Cahill et al; “Beta andrenergic activation and memory for emotional events”; Nature Oct 20, 1994

109 Lynn D Seleman et al; “Prefrontal Cortex”, American Journal of Psychiatry, 152, 1995

110 Damasio, A; “Descarte's Error, reason and the human brain”, New York: Grosset/Putnam, 1994

111 Sparenberg, P., Topolinski, S., Springer, A., and Prinz, W. (2012). Minimal mimicry: Mere effector matching induces preference. Brain and Cognition, 80 (3), 291-300 DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bandc.2012.08.004  Author weblink: http://www.cbs.mpg.de/alumni/tausche-10802?v=cv

112 Source: The Royal Society http://rsbl.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/8/5/856.abstract.html?etoc

113 Jung, C.J. (1921) Psychologischen Typen. Rascher Verlag, Zurich – translation H.G. Baynes, 1923.

114 Jung, Carl (1995). Memories, Dreams, Reflections. London: Fontana Press. pp. 414–415. ISBN 0-00-654027-9

115 Thompson, E.R. (October 2008). "Development and Validation of an International English Big-Five Mini-Markers". Personality and Individual Differences 45 (6): 542-548. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2008.06.013

116 Examples include the Big Five model, Jung's analytical psychology, Hans Eysenck's three-factor model, Raymond Cattell's 16 personality factors, the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory, and the Myers Briggs Type Indicator

117 Cwir, D., Carr, P., Walton, G., and Spencer, S. (2011). Your heart makes my heart move: Cues of social connectedness cause shared emotions and physiological states among strangers. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jesp.2011.01.009 [pdf via author website: http://tinyurl.com/5sjn9uw

118 http://bjp.rcpsych.org/content/198/1/24.full

119 Michel Odent MD – A Turning Point in Civilization and Birth https://player.vimeo.com/video/53757102?autoplay=1&width=640&height=480&iframe=true]

120 actually the 'RFDL' (use your imagination)

121 Even when only considering 'all active' combinations it's 246

122 Kahneman, Daniel; Shane Frederick (2002). "Representativeness Revisited: Attribute Substitution in Intuitive Judgment". In Thomas Gilovich, Dale Griffin, Daniel Kahneman. Heuristics and Biases: The Psychology of Intuitive Judgment. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 51–52. ISBN 978-0-521-79679-8

123 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Availability_heuristic

124 Pronin E, Kruger J, Savitsky K, Ross L (October 2001). "You don't know me, but I know you: the illusion of asymmetric insight". J Pers Soc Psychol 81 (4): 639–56. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.81.4.639. PMID 11642351

125 Schacter, D.L. (1999). "The Seven Sins of Memory: Insights From Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience". American Psychologist 54 (3): 182–203. doi:10.1037/0003-066X.54.3.182. PMID 10199218

126 Schacter, Daniel L. (2011). Psychology Ed. 2. 41 Madison Avenue New York, NY 10010: Worth Publishers. ISBN 1–4292–3719–8

127 Günter Radden, H. Cuyckens (2003). Motivation in language: studies in honor of Günter Radden. John Benjamins. p. 275. ISBN 978-1-58811-426-6

128 Wade, Tavris "Psychology" Sixth Edition Prentice Hall 2000 ISBN 0-321-04931-4

129 Isenberg, D.J. (1986). "Group Polarization: A Critical Review and Meta-Analysis". Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 50 (6): 1141–1151. PMID 1147368 Pruitt, D. (1971). "Choice shifts in group discussion: An introductory review.". Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 20 (3): 339–360. doi:10.1037/h0031922

130 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ingroup_bias https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Outgroup_homogeneity_bias

131 Hewstone, 1989

132 Interestingly, if you allow them to become overcrowded, more of the population, first females, then males, become homosexual

133 Rogers, 1959

134 Rogers, 1961

135 Rogers, 1961, p.186

136 Rogers, 1977 p.248

137 Maddi, 1996

138 1977, p15

139 Chodorkoff, 1954; cited in Rogers, 1959

140 Coan, 1972; cited in Maddi, 1996

141 Liedloff, J; The Continuum Concept AND Butler & Haigh, 1954; cited in Rogers, 1954

142 Rogers, 1961, p.195

143 John Gottman, “why marriages succeed and fail”, New York: Simon and Schuster, 1994

144 These and other EFT issues are discussed in publications such as the Journal of Medical Internet Research (Griffiths, Lindenmeyer, Powell, Lowe, & Thorogood, 2006)

145 Hartung, J., & Stein, P. (2012). Telephone delivery of EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) remediates PTSD symptoms in veterans: A randomized controlled trial. Energy Psychology: Theory, Research, and Treatment, 4(1), 33-42. AND U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). (2011). PTSD coach (Version 1.0.1) [Mobile application software].

146 Church & Brooks, 2010

147 Church, De Asis, & Brooks, in press

148 Ginott, Dr., Haim (2003). Between Parent and Child: The Bestselling Classic That Revolutionized Parent-Child Communication (Revised and Updated). New York: Three Rivers Press. ISBN 0-609-80988-1

149 http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=young-alexander-excerpt-chemistry-between-us

150 "Newly found 'volume control' in the brain promotes learning, memory." January 9th, 2013. http://medicalxpress.com/news/2013-01-newly-volume-brain-memory.html



Last Updated on Saturday, 12 January 2013 13:11