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memory, paranoia
and paradigms

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Memory, paranoia and paradigms is one of a series of documents examining memory, including its relationship to intelligence.

marker at psycho-bunk 5 - what is memory, or intelligence? Incautious claims of ‘IQ’ genes
marker at establishment psycho-bunk 4 - repressed memory
marker at Memory, paranoia and paradigms

1 I have spent several years laying down empirically sound logic for psychological and related fields.[1] The logic should be applicable elsewhere. This has included case-studies of individual psychology.





2 In the last two or three years, I have been applying this logic to social (that is, group) analysis.[2]
3 This document is, potentially, very complex, dependant on the depth to which you wish to understand it. It bears on decisions you may wish to take in organising and running your society, and in the manner in which you wish to educate the young. [3]

click to see full index
    genetic component predisposing to ‘schizophrenia’
    sleep deprivation
    brain damage to verbal areas
    genes and behaviour, context
  paranoia, prediction and prejudice
      make friends, not enemies
      stereotype threat
    paradigms and algorithms
    algorithms and individuals
    the evolution algorithm
  end notes


genetic component predisposing to ‘schizophrenia’

This is an unusually convincing report.

“Schizophrenics have severe deficits in working memory, unable to remember what they have said earlier in the same conversation or even recall sounds they have heard only moments before.”

“ In addition, the mice also showed extreme unsocial behaviour, withdrawing to the edge of their cages for hours at a time and avoiding other normal mice, even during sleep, which they normally do together.”

“Their study, just published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that one of four genes involved in calcineurin encoding was present in 38% of the parents of schizophrenics. It also found that this gene was often found in those of their children who went on to develop schizophrenia - much more so than would be expected by chance.”

“But it does not mean that genes are the only cause: "An environmental factor is there, but it is not well understood. But there's definitely a genetic component there," he told reporters.”to top of the document

sleep deprivation

It is interesting that sleep deprivation can also disrupt short-term memory:

“Scientists at the University of Pennsylvania have found new support for the age-old advice to "sleep on it." Mice allowed to sleep after being trained remembered what they had learned far better than those deprived of sleep for several hours afterward.”

Sleep deprivation more than five hours after learning does not disrupt the learning:

“[...] appeared to impair spatial orientation and recognition of physical surroundings, known as contextual memory. Recollection of specific facts or events, known as cued memory, was not affected.”

In other words, the effect was only observed when it was necessary for the mice to integrate the new learning into what they already knew. Sleep deprivation did not disrupt ‘new’ learning which was out of previous context, for instance ‘surprise’ events.

brain damage to verbal areas

Now here is another item related to interference of free flow of ‘ideas’. The work suggests that, upon damage to the verbal areas, the brain functions more pliably. to top of the document


In each case, integration, independence and free flowing ideation are related to dependence on short-term memory and on forming a world view. [Note that the creatures deal with each item anew. ?]

Lack of sleep and ‘schizophrenia’ make for ‘individualism/isolationism’. The individual experiences are not incorporated, or internalised, into (crude) generalisations. A paradigm is then, less rigid or stable.

Without the rigid frameworks of inherited belief systems, the schizophrenic organises their data, often in fantasy or magical ‘explanations’ and worlds. Thus, the ‘creative’ art.

The mice respond to each input as ‘new’, which of course it is! But when they can integrate the experience, it becomes accepted background that is ‘known’ and therefore requires little attention. It is more automated.

To retain ‘creativity’, it is necessary to remain aware or the environment, to constantly respond with attention; but that is painful in a world of aggression and sheep-like fear of differences. Remaining creative/aware also requires more effort and attention, which can distract attention from everyday ‘trivialities’, such as feeding oneself or maintaining social networks.

Hence, the stereotype of the artist starving in the garret; and the reality of the schizophrenic who fails to look after themselves efficiently, or to hold down an everyday ‘job’.

related material
various documents at this site, starting with laying the foundations for sound educationto top of the document

genes and behaviour, context

part 1    part 2    part 3    part 4

“Antisocial behavior
“It has often been suggested that childhood maltreatment can create an antisocial adult. New research by Terrie Moffitt of London's Kings College on a group of 442 New Zealand men who have been followed since birth suggests that this is true only for a genetic minority. Again, the difference lies in a promoter that alters the activity of a gene. Those with high-active monoamine oxidase A genes were virtually immune to the effects of mistreatment. Those with low-active genes were much more antisocial if maltreated, yet - if anything - slightly less antisocial if not maltreated. The low-active, mistreated men were responsible for four times their share of rapes, robberies and assaults. In other words, maltreatment is not enough; you must also have the low-active gene. And it is not enough to have the low-active gene; you must also be maltreated."

Article written by Matt Ridley [imprimatur—ab]

image credit: Nature Via Nurture : Genes, Experience, and What Makes Us Human by Matt Ridley [unread]
$18.17 []
April 29, 2003; HarperCollins; 0060006781; hbk
£13.29 []
7 April, 2003; Fourth Estate; 1841157457; hbk

Also by Matt Ridley
Genome: The autobiography of a species in 23 chapters [link to recommended reading] to top of the document


paranoia, prediction and prejudice


Paranoia is two people with guns pointed at one another, each attempting to persuade the other one to put the gun down first. [4]

It isn’t paranoia if ‘they’ really are out to get you, but how do you know? to top of the document


Feedback often produces undesirable outcomes, through logical paths from irrational assumptions. If you approach people with expectations that they will attack, you will often evoke the very behaviour that you fear.

To take an extreme case: if you point a gun at each person with whom you have a conversation, in fear they might attack, it is quite likely that they may regard you as insane. At the very least, next time they will come armed, and so be more dangerous.

While you may think that this is abnormal, the paranoid person tends to be ready to hit out at the slightest imagined [predicted without adequate cause, and incorrectly] provocation. They may well approach you in a gruff manner, they are fearful and ready to take offence. A milder form of this behaviour is often described as ‘defensiveness’. But this is no way to win friends and influence people.

make friends, not enemies

Even in an untrusting society, if you approach a person openly and with some trust, you may well be attacked or taken advantage of; but at least you will then discover whether that person is inclined to attack. If you approach people in a friendly and open manner, they are more likely to feel at ease and you will, on average, get on better with them and develop friendships more easily.

It is foolish to approach the world with expectations or preconceptions [predictions, assumptions], it is best to cultivate a relaxed and peaceful demeanour, while remaining alert; neither gush, nor be prickly and defensive. That is to say, you cultivate an internal stillness or, as aikido instructors put it in the physical training, learn to ‘keep one point’.

Taking this behavioural route, you will often be cheated, but you will know who are the cheats. When you approach everyone as if they are liable to attack, you will miss finding out which are the friendly ones who were not going to attack in the first place.

This reminds me of a story:

Young lad to his more sophisticated, big brother—

Little bro’: “Hey brother, you’re always going out with the girls, how do you manage it?”
Big bro’: “Well younger fellow, I just go up to them and say, “Wanna date”, and they usually say yes. That’s all you have to do.”
Little bro’, mightily impressed by this worldly wisdom, and with an embarrassed blush:
“I don’t know quite how to put this, but do you ever get to make love to them?”
Big bro’: “Oh yes, often, young tyke.”
Little bro’,  even more impressed: “How do you go about it?”
Big bro’, lording his greater knowledge somewhat: “It’s very simple really, i just go up to them and say “Will you have secks with me?” ”
Little bro’: “That’s crazy”, says Little bro’, “Surely, you have your face slapped a lot?”
Big bro’: “Sure do young’un, but I also get lots of secks.”

Paranoia has negative paybacks:

  1. you do not make friends;
  2. you are liable to make false friends, because you do not check others out—you do not check for fear of having your face slapped. to top of the document



It is known that interviewing is next door to psycho-bunk. To illustrate this Myers [5] uses the following example:

During the 1970s, the Texas Medical School at Houston took in 150 students each year, based on interviews from the 800 best qualified applicants. In April 1979, the local legislature told the school to admit 50 more students. By the time of the second intake, many of those from the original 800 who had not been selected were already placed in other universities, or were in employment, thus leaving candidates remaining who were having the most difficulty in being placed; those, in fact, who had originally been placed lowest by the interviewers.

Final exam results and success in subsequent medical careers showed no difference in outcomes between the two groups of students.

But further, what is interesting is that any testing differences between the original 800 also could not have been useful in predicting ‘success’.

Stereotype threat

Stereotype threat :– reductions of performance related the stress resulting from a fear of being stereotyped.

The following quotes are from one article in three parts
(Thin Ice by Claude M. Steele) Four GoldenYak (tm) award

“ My colleagues and I have called such features "stereotype threat" -- the threat of being viewed through the lens of a negative stereotype, or the fear of doing something that would inadvertently confirm that stereotype. Everyone experiences stereotype threat. We are all members of some group about which negative stereotypes exist, from white males and Methodists to women and the elderly. And in a situation where one of those stereotypes applies -- a man talking to women about pay equity, for example, or an aging faculty member trying to remember a number sequence in the middle of a lecture -- we know that we may be judged by it.”

Is everyone equally threatened and disrupted by a stereotype? One might expect, for example, that it would affect the weakest students most. But in all our research the most achievement-oriented students, who were also the most skilled, motivated, and confident, were the most impaired by stereotype threat. This fact had been under our noses all along -- in our data and even in our theory. A person has to care about a domain in order to be disturbed by the prospect of being stereotyped in it.”

Policies for helping black students rest in significant part on assumptions about their psychology. As noted, they are typically assumed to lack confidence, which spawns a policy of confidence-building. This may be useful for students at the academic rearguard of the group. But the psychology of the academic vanguard appears different -- underperformance appears to be rooted less in self-doubt than in social mistrust.”

“White students took the criticism at face value -- even as an indication of interest in them. Black students, however, faced a different meaning: the "ambiguating" possibility that the criticism was motivated by negative stereotypes about their group as much as by the work itself. Herein lies the power of race to make one's world insecure -- quite apart from whatever actual discrimination one may experience.”

Thus the students suffering from a stereotype threat reaction are exhibiting prejudice towards those who are judging them, by guessing that those people (‘judges’) will be prejudiced against them! This is a form of paranoia.

related material
Feedback and crowdingto top of the document


    Paradigms may be distiguished into several types:

  1. A paradigm built into genes to define behaviour: for instance, various survival instincts such as honey gathering and flying in a bee. A bird must, to a degree, be taught and encouraged to fly and a child to walk; but in each case, the potential behaviour incorporated in the genes requires appropriate experiences at the correct stage of development.
  2. A paradigm learnt by the creature: for instance, finding one’s way around the local environment.
  3. A paradigm learnt from others of your kind: for instance, macaque monkeys learning to dip food in the sea for flavour.

paradigms and algorithms

The evolution paradigm is not formalised, neither is a crossing-the-road algorithm.[6] With the crossing-the-road, some attempt to algorithmise it is made for children. Obviously, workers in biology attempt to fit data into some roughly recognised evolution algorithm.

A mathematical algorithm is already ‘defined’ or automated. The intention being that it is repeatable and communicable, and that the algorithm does not vary from place to place, or from worker to worker. But, of course, the algorithm does so vary (see equality); however, any differences are ignored. Apparently, in the consciousness of the users of the algorithms, the differences are intuitively imagined ‘not to matter’. The differences may matter, they may even very well matter yet go unnoticed. The very assumption of ‘invariability’ introduces a lack of rigour, an element of approximation to realities.

These differences can matter to the extent of fatality, if the algorithm for road crossing either fails, or is insufficiently followed. (See Balance and judgement). By fails, I mean that the algorithm does not match reality sufficiently for the circumstances encountered. For instance, a car swerves onto the pavement, or goes the wrong way down a one-way street, while you are using an insufficiently complex algorithm.

algorithms and individuals

Such failures of algorithms matter when dealing with individual humans. No wholly satisfactory algorithm for dealing with people can be developed, as every person is different [7]. Paranoia in one individual is not paranoia in another, neither is ‘schizophrenia’. These are symptoms, not well defined ‘diseases’ caused by a recognised bug. The symptoms may be for many different reasons, just as a raised temperature may be from multiple causes. Genetic predisposers, environmental causes including present stresses, may generate the ‘symptoms’; just as a high temperature may be developed by bugs, by lack of efficient genetic temperature regulation, or being stranded in the desert and, doubtless, by many other situations.

With psychological unease, our understanding is running well behind our physiological knowledge. Our categories are often very unsure. It is known that different ‘psychologists’ will ‘diagnose’ the same patient as suffering from various different ‘diseases’. Therefore much caution is advised in taking claims seriously.

the evolution algorithm

What is the purpose of the evolution algorithm? Well, this algorithm is not ‘fully’ defined, there remains much we do not know. The algorithm is continually being refined as we gain more real-world data. To adjust the road-crossing algorithm as a vehicle bears down on us may be a bit late in the day, but we have more time with the evolution algorithm.

For human advance, paradigms must be subject to change/development. Much of this comes from real world input—“knowledge is first in the senses”.[8] The senses of our machines are as yet more limited than our own range of peripherals (sight, taste, etc.), but it need not always remain so: infrared, molecule detection that no human can distinguish, telescopic sight and so on.

To return to paradigms, to refer to something as ‘stereotype threat’ or as ‘paranoia’ requires caution. These are categories we use to communicate, and to attempt to discuss and understand the world and ourselves. They must be approached with due caution – in a tentative and exploratory manner.

We are gradually beginning to link physiological changes in the brain and we are gathering genetic knowledge, but we are very early in this process. We must take very little for granted, or as ‘dogma’. The terms may sometimes be exploratively useful, but they are no sane basis for high confidence.

A person who lives has clearly developed their approach to the world, and their paradigm/s, on the basis of their real experiences. Their paradigm/s, however ridiculous they may seem, have still allowed, or even enabled, the person to survive – or they would not be presently standing in front of you! It is empirically obvious, even if that is not always intuitively clear, as I have demonstrated in many other places, that the internal paradigm/s of every person differ at every detail.

Your basis for assuming that another person is ‘paranoid’ or ‘mad’ are, somewhat, a matter of taste and of comparison with your own internal paradigms of the world.

notes for development:
forcing paradigms on society...control of information channels
freud superego
to top of the document

Related further reading

marker at psycho-bunk 5 - what is memory, or intelligence? Incautious claims of ‘IQ’ genes
marker at establishment psycho-bunk 4 - repressed memory
marker at Memory, paranoia and paradigms

end notes

  1. For more background, look at about abelard, and abelard's public education site.

  2. Relevant background documents may be found on this site. It is highly probable that you will need to look at some of these documents in order to grasp the drive and purposes of this document.

  3. The citizenship education document, citizenship curriculum, is a partial (unfinished) directory which may help your orientation to my purposes in this document.

  4. At the rare extreme of paranoia, there are individuals so disturbed that they will shoot on irrational perceptions of threat, even on a belief in magical powers or messages from ‘god’ to rid the world of some supposed ‘danger’. Such is Sutcliffe, whose mission was to rid the world of ‘evil’ prostitutes. See also Did Hitler know about the holocaust? A psychological assessment

    There are two types of extremely dangerous persons: those who are paranoid, and those who are psychopaths. To the psychopath, you are disposable as a hat, if you are in the way of their desires.

  5. R.A. DeVaul et al., Journal of the American Medical Association, 257 (1987) pp.47 – 51;
    reported in Dawes, Robyn M., House of cards, 1996, p.87 – 88

  6. Algorithm: a series of rules to achieve an objective.

  7. Or more precisely, all situations in the real world are different, but the differences between humans are considerably ‘greater’ than the difference between two screws.

  8. Thomas Aquinasto top of the document

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