Re: COMP/NEURO: Images Extracted from Cat Brain

Robert J. Bradbury (
Sun, 10 Oct 1999 17:32:22 -0700 (PDT)

On Sun, 10 Oct 1999, Robert Owen wrote:

> None of this is argumentative; but I am always amazed that e.g. every-
> one everywhere has a chronometry of some kind. Perhaps you could
> help me understand this phenomenon.

Well, presumably it is "built-in" because it enhances survival. We have recently isolated the genes responsible for controling circadian rhythms and have begun to unravel how they are "reset" by such phenomena as daylight. Obviously animals that hunt by sight want to get an early start and be on the playing field when the sun comes up. Similarly prey of the nocturnal variety wants to wake up and come out when it gets dark.

Since we have these chronometers built-in, our software probably has leaned to take advantage of the hardware. I've always been amazed at my ability to wake up in advance of my alarm clock (if I program myself to do so). In theory my brain should be "unconsious" when I'm asleep but the internal clock seems to never sleep.

You could say the same about language -- even isolated deaf/mute people will "invent" a language to communicate with. If that isn't evidence for hardwiring (and of the survival advantages of being able to communicate) then I don't know what would be.