Instinct Viewed as Pre-Recorded Memory

By Gerard Gilliland

Instinct is the action or behavior of an animal that is performed without prior experience or learning. Examples of instinct are honeybees dancing a routine to communicate the distance and direction of a sugar source, or birds building nests. Learning is the transfer of knowledge to memory. And memory storage is the firing of neurons. However, if a portion of memory is pre-recorded as the brain develops then instinct can be viewed as repeating activities that are already known.

The concept is the same as that of a computer starting up and reading pre-loaded memory to start the process of boot strapping its self up. It couldn’t start up without instructions loaded or pre-recorded in a portion of its memory.

A majority of instinctive actions include learned processes. Just as a computer soon “learns” that it has a disk drive and network connection, a bird “learns” that book pages and shoe strings from a trash can work as good as moss and leaves.

We shouldn’t view memory as blank empty neurons only capable of firing under the learning process. Many neurons can fire during brain development. The origin of species or survival of the fittest is as valid for brain cells and pre-recorded memory as other body parts. Thus, as an organ develops, there is an inherent knowledge to be able to use that organ. That knowledge is developed in the brain through firing neurons. For example, a bird with an oil secretion gland knows how to retrieve oil from the gland and apply it to its feathers.

Déjà vu is an anomaly of memory that gives the impression that an experience is being recalled. However, the circumstances of the 'previous' experience (when, where, and how the earlier experience occurred) are quite uncertain or believed to be impossible. This can be explained as subconcious events stored in memory as shared pieces of information tied together logically by the brain.

The major neurotransmitters all have excitatory effects: that is, they increase the probability that the target cell will fire an action potential. The most common is glutamate. Other neurotransmitters, such as GABA (γ-aminobutyric acid), have inhibitory effects. GABA is used at the great majority of fast inhibitory synapses in virtually every part of the brain. GABA is synthesized by neurons during brain development. Some studies suggest GABA has excitatory effects in early development other studies disagree. It does regulate the proliferation of neural progenitor cells and formation of synapses. Thus it could form memory but inhibit the action of those new memories during their growth.

One great possibility for verifying pre-recorded memory is “Brain Fingerprinting” developed by Lawrence Farwell, PhD. The brain processes information that is known and relevant in a different way than it processes information that is unknown or irrelevant. These differences can be captured non-intrusively with an EEG (electroencephalograph).

Certainly a large chick could be fitted with a modified EEG cap and be shown pictures of objects some of which should be known (nest construction) and others unknown (driving a car). But a young bee would need a micro cap developed and fitted before it could be shown pictures of known (flowers) and unknown (cars) objects. These information objects can come in the form of smell or touch as well as vision.

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