top of page
An AS (ASS or ASSS) as an Olympiad-size 
competition between functionally  incompatible actention modules

The "actention selection serving system" is a flexibly abbreviated concEPT; the tightest truncation of which is found right in the middle of EAVASIVE. The ASSS implies a competition among adaptationally and functionally incompatible actention modules — a "competition" that is not just metaphorical. 


Although the concEPT of an AS (or ASSS) mainly refers to our own neural (Central Nervous) "System" it can of course be used to schematically describe what is going on within any animal's, always to some extent modular, actention {selection serving} system.


At a stretch this concEPT (abbreviated as tightly as AS, to as loosely as ASSS) can even refer to the activities and effects of the functures that provide individual amoebic (as in single-celled) animals with their small repertoire of responses to the opportunities and threats they are challenged by.

Moreover, individual neural animals are ÆPTly seen to behave according to how their respective ASSSs operate as a competition; a competition that to a greater or lesser extent is influenced by an audience (environment) that provide cheering or booing input.

This 'competition' (the operation of the AS) involves current or recent circumstantial sources of opportunity-representing input ("cheering" input) that tends to motivate exploitative behaviors as well as (sometimes simultaneous) input representing environmental factors that threaten (a "booing" input) and that tend to motivate defensive behaviors. 


Anyhow, circumstantial or environmental (not intrinsic to an individual organism) sources of stimulation (input) prompt or modify sensory-motivational activity and are involved in the process of actention selection that is carried out by ASSSs. 

However, the ongoing operation of our ASSSs does also involve past environmental sources of "cheering" or "booing" input (factors), including: 

1. such sources/factors that become "conditioned-in" (i.e. in a general sensed lodged and stored within neural ASSSs); 

2.  such sources/factors that became conditioned-in within individual ancestors but subsequently also came to be inherited epigenetically (and culturally or via direct intergenerational interactions) by their descendants; 


3. such sources/factors that only by natural selective consequences of certain lifetime challenges got retained as procreatively preserved genetic records of how these lifetime challenges were coped with by suitably mutated individuals or ditto family groups (or septs) of individuals. 

The 'audience metaphor' is ÆPTly stretched to include past "audience cheers (applauds) and boos" that were 'naturally given' to both recent and distant ancestors of ours. This "stretch" is warranted because of: 


1. the fact (by Science securely established pointers that indicate conclusively) that some experiences by or environmental influences on our ancestors (at least as far back as our grandparents) can influence the ongoing competition within each our ASSS; not via DNA-recipe changes nor via social transmission of experiences but via "histone coded" changes in the for gene-expression important 'DNA-packing material' chromatine in germ cells.


2. by milieu factors having been no less "an audience" of the competition between functionally incompatible actention modules within ASSSs throughout the phylogeny of all fauna (of course not least importantly in the phylogeny of us folk).

Apropos which: The individual phenotypes (the "units of selection") that pioneered the until now preserved 'modern human making' mutations of the current human DNA-recipe were of course all naturally "selected-in" by how they interacted with and in a lineage-lengthening sense successfully coped with the challenges presented to them. 


Some of these challenges were posed by primarily environmental (circumstantial) factors — i.e. by milieu factors such as (importantly and not to be forgotten) threat type challenges in the form of sexual rivals, but importantly also by opportunity type challenges such as in the form of the presences of potential mating partners.

The ÆPT perspective on how our uniquely human, our EAVASIVE, traits became naturally selected for, primarily within extended family groups that our common ancestors were born into, highlights (places an emphasis on) how emerging language-function-linked cognitive means of coping ambiadvantageously met challenges simultaneously posed by CURSES (put by SH-imploring threats) and situationally 'overlapping' environmentally provided Opportunities.    

The 'ÆPT picture' of our ASSSs and of how we (mainly we humans but also many other brainy animals) actend (pay actention) is, I hope and assume, best beheld through concEPTual lenses.


For example, the ÆPT view and understanding of how we behave, feel and perceive and think as uniquely as we do (but no more!) is facilitated (or enabled) partly by the ÆPT concept "EAVASIVE". 

EAVASIVE implies, since it stands (does as a result of an extremely pragmatic tailoring and via awfully accrued error plagued trials — so its design came about similar to how we evolved in a Darwinian way, by Natural Selection) for Evolved Ambiadvantageous[ly adaptive] Verbal Actention System....",  that we pay actention in ways that include "lingual thinking"; and that what we feel can be lingually prompted and in some cases enhanced or focused and in other cases enfeebled or defused. It also implies that our lingual functions that are part of forming our EAVASIVEness can crucially contribute to psychosomatic symptoms and to fabulous scientific and technological developments as well as to foul fanaticism and insanely aggrieved aggressivess.


Hypnosis, for one, provides great examples of our EAVASIVEness. 

Anyway, our individual ASSSs (neural actention selection serving systems) operate like a competition between functionally or adaptively incompatible actention modules in response to cheers (applauds) and boos from an audience consisting of both past as well as current milieu factors.

Accordingly, a human ASSS is almost comparable to an Olympiad-sized competition whereas a very simple neural animal's (even an amoebic animal's) ASSS is likened to a small competition involving just a few "sports". 

Adaptively and functionally incompatible actention modules are as if competing by mutual inhibition for the prize of becoming a paid/focused. However, the competitiveness of actention modules varies. That is, they have been given different weights by phylogeny and by environmental influences during ontogeny, and also by unequal weighting influences received via the instinctive curiosity and exploratory behaviors exhibited by the individuals whose ASSS they are in and also by cultural transmission of conditioning experiences, skills, and knowledge. 

Three examples of this competition and of possible outcomes of it:

1. A very hungry adult human animal who detects a snake wriggling toward it, or who smells the smoke from rapidly approaching bush-fire, is likely to quickly interrupt its eating and run away to a nearby safe place or to a far away safe place, respectively; 

2. the same and equally hungry eating human who hears or at a distance sees a large predator approaching may light a fire and pick up stones or keep a spear close at hand and keep on eating.

3. Someone who is focusing on some intellectual or skill improving/maintaining activity to such an absorbing degree that hunger or the a full bladder or bowel is not paid actention to until it is almost too late to tidily evacuate the content of the two kinds of intestinal container. 😧😌  



A lengthy enough presence of a circumstance in which food has being unavailable or not accessible will prompt an actention module (or a set of mutually compatible modules) the function of which is to manifest a hunger-motivated food seeking behavior and, if food is found, as an eating behavior.


However, a phylogenetically and ontogenetically established (instinctive) and strongly situationally prompted 'actention module for eating' can be outweighed (or outcompeted) by a module for a flight response or for a "stay and fight (defensively)" response; It can if the immediate environment presents a hungry individual's ASSS with a simultaneously great enough circumstantial threat (e.g. a nearby large-enough predator);


Or, in other words, if the module for a flight or fight response is being added weight to (or is internally cheered on) by a circumstantially triggered implicit and closely enough functurally related memory of 'CURSES type' — e.g. one originally established (primarily through "operant conditioning" but typically also by Pavlovian conditioning) by a no longer circumstantial or environmentally present threat of 'SHI-type'.

All competing actention modules are dependent on actention modules of vital physiological importance that have almost no competitors and that are almost completely certain to keep on going in winning ways until their respective ASSSs (≈we) die.


These our most ancient actention modules (one of which is responsible for the blood-pumping activity of our hearts, another for the almost equally autonomous neuromuscular activities of our alimentary canal, and yet another for our blood oxygenating and carbon dioxide expelling lungs) are located at the very base (or in the innermost layer) of our actention selection serving system (ASSS).

By the way, actention modules can be ÆPTly thought of as consisting of neural (sensory, neurohormonal, and neuromuscular) functures.

["Functure(s)" is a completely self-explanatory and quite trivial ÆPT amalgam of the words "function(s)" and "structure(s)". It was contrived in recognition that it is sometimes apt to adopt a Tolerance-principled attitude.] 

Any neural actention selection serving system evolved, from ground up, to involve functures that on the whole serve to prioritize the selection of adaptive responses from a repertoire of different available responses.

The word selection can be seen to refer to both natural selection and to the selection that is going on in respect of historical as well as currently alive actention selection serving systems. That is, it is ÆPT to be prepared to hold a notion of a "total situational selection" in ones head. "Selection" in this broadest or most comprehensive sense takes into account that a selection of actentions goes on inside intact enough and operating ASSSs. 


Our ASSSs got established by neo-Darwinian evolution through natural selection and in our ontogeny.


Scenarios in the phylogeny of fauna (it is ÆPT to leave out flora) have involved real-time lifetime challenges faced by individual ASSSs. Many such challenges have also been significant evolutionary pressures in our phylogeny.


ASSSs get modified and affected in their ontogeny by epigenetically inherited experiences as well as by immediate milieu factors. The output of paid/foucused actentions by ASSSs is selected by already mentioned factors/influences combined with prior conditioning influences as well as by immediate circumstantial influences. 

A neural ASS (an accEPTable abbreviation but not used as often as AS and ASSS) is capable of a repertoire of responses (N.B. not just of 'paying actentions').


That is, the repertoire of responses available to an ASSS can range from on the outside quiet preoccupations (while possible very busy or flegmatic on the inside) to an overtly busy or relaxed overt behavior but it can also encompasses inhibitory responses, some of which may result in seasonal dormancy and others that result in specific/synaptic hibernation (SH). SH type responses are 'approximately always' performed in parallel with active "behavior generating" responses except during nocturnal dreamless sleep.

Most actention modules that are temporarily paid (in the currency of neurometabolic resources) manifest as anything from a mainly mental type of preoccupation or as notably neuromuscular and overtly active behavior. 

Meanwhile, other 'non-paid' (not winning) actention modules of an AS are either not situationally stimulated (not cheered on) or too weakly stimulated or out-weighed/out-competed and may remain as if in an abiding a state of waiting for strong enough situational prompting of their sensory team members (as if waiting for strong enough cheers from the 'audience=environment').

The winners of the competition between incompatible actention modules typically contribute to their winning by means of sending inhibitory messages to their competitors. 

Most actention modules in the human ASSS are of course in an either quiescent (or abiding) or by active inhibition suppressed state.

Most neural actention modules consist of a motor-pattern generating segment, a mental-patttern (perception and imagination) generating segment (or sector), an emotion generating sector, and a situation evaluating sensory segment.

The sensory segment of an actention module is a neural functure that primarily detects evaluates and registers factors in our surrounds in respect of their significance to our survival — i.e. the significance in relation to the basic drive that makes us exploit potentially procreation promoting opportunities and to defend against potentially procreation precluding threats.

bottom of page