Monday, September 1, 2014

Emotional hysteresis regulates the behavior of intelligent animals

Hysteresis is a memory-dependent behavior typical of elastic and ferromagnetic materials. Although behavioral changes play out over time in animals, emotion forming animals and elementary particles show many common features. Some examples of elementary particle behavior include emotional fluorescence, mental resonance, and others. For example, the stimulation threshold of emotional animals depends on the emotional history, the degree of irritation, or 'emotional temperature.' Hysteresis like behavior has been reported in wide-ranging fields, such as neurology, histology, cell biology, genetics, respiratory psychology, economics, game theory, and unemployment.

Hysteresis behavior is characteristic of elastic materials. As the material is slightly stretched and released, it will return to its previous state. Greater stretching, however, will deform the material, causing it to warm up, and as a consequence, a smaller force is sufficient to stretch it. The material will only return to its initial state after a cooling period. The stimulation threshold of emotional animals depends on their emotional history, their degree of irritation. In emotion forming animals, irritation leads to enhanced brain frequencies, which corresponds to an emotional temperature. Using the example of a dog at moderate stress the dog will exhibit a smooth transition of responses, requiring a much larger irritation cowed to angry. But higher stress levels correspond to a region, where further irritation causes the dog to reach a ‘fold’ point, when it will suddenly, discontinuously snap through to angry mode. Once in ‘angry’ mode, it will remain angry, even if the direct irritation parameter is considerably reduced (just like the heated up elastic material). Once reaching a sizable emotional temperature, it will take time until the dog calms down. Changes of emotional temperature (the degree of irritation) could result in the experienced sudden behavioral changes. 

Similarly, social behavior can involve hysteresis. For example, social groups exist as emotional ferromagnets, stretched out in time. The 'attitude field' becomes a common emotional orientation in most situations, signified by thinking and behavior. This is the reason, social groups tend to shop in the same stores, take similar vacations, vote for the same candidate and hold the same view on many issues. The field (which has a temporal expanse!) directs an individual attitude in almost every problem. The collective opinion changes constantly and gradually over time by the experiences and emotional pushes of its members. A recent study found that social media groups form a social bubble, which limits the available information to like-minded people and leads to a collective social bias, which manipulates social change. Indeed, recent surprising social changes in many countries (the Brexit, the Arab spring, and even the election of Donald Trump) might be the result of such collective social bias. It was found that individual behavioral response to challenges can be better predicted from the behavior of friends and peers than personal intention. Because social groups have such powerful influence on behavior, behavioral modification spreads like an infectious disease within the social group. This is true even among people who personally do not know each other at all! The finding was revealed by a social study for happiness, quitting smoking and discontent, but in all likelihood, it could be found for many other behaviors and habits as well (Hill, 2010). Intelligent animal behavior is regulated by emotional fluorescence, as well as emotional hysteresis.

Picture credit: Dogs By Peter Wadsworth

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