The Problem of Serial Order in Behavior

“My primal thesis today will be that the input is never into a quiescent or static system, but always into a system which is already actively excited and organised. In the intact organism, behaviour is the result of interaction of this background of excitation with input from any designated stimulus. Only when we can stat the general characteristics of this background of excitation, can we understand the effects of a given input. (…)

The remaining alternative is that the mechanisms which determines the serial activation of the motor units is relatively independent, both of the motor units and of the thought structure. (…)

I have devoted so much time to discussion of the problem of syntax, not only because language is on of the most important products of human cerebral action, but also because the problems raised by the organisation of language seem to me to be characteristic of almost all other cerebral activity. There is a series of hierarchies or organisation; the order of vocal movements in pronouncing the word, the order of words in the sentence, the order of sentences in the paragraph, the rational order of the paragraphs in a discourse. Not only speech, but all skilled acts seem to involve the same problem of serial order.”

K. S. Lashley


El arte en aforismos

“El arte, como la ciencia, es una forma de conocer la realidad.


2. Una obra de arte es una compresión en pos de una expansión.

3. La ciencia converge con una manera de concebir el arte: evocar lo máximo con lo mínimo.

4. La esencia de la ciencia está en lo que la mente creadora descubre como compartido por varias experiencias de la realidad, la esencia del arte está en la experiencia de la realidad que una mente creadora logra compartir con otras mentes.

5. La grandeza de la ciencia está en que es capaz de comprender sin intuir, la grandeza del arte en que es capaz de intuir sin necesidad de comprender.

12. En la ciencia los contenidos tiran del lenguaje, en el arte es el lenguaje el que tira de los contenidos.

15. La ciencia es teoría para la experiencia, el arte es experiencia para la teoría.”

Jorge Wagensberg

Essential Works of Pavlov

Certain units of behaviour, such as the crawling and speech of our examples, do not belong to an initial repertoire of operant responses that comes into being with the organism. They do not originally emerge as full-blown behavioural entities in the way that we find unconditioned lever-pressing, for example, occurring at a low but typical rate in Flyer, the chimp. This is why they they appear to be “new”. Their ultimate occurrence depends on the fact that behaviour, in all its features, is variable, and its variations can be reinforced.”

Introduction to the “Essential Works of Pavlov”

Michael Kaplan