The Unz Review - Mobile
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
 BlogviewJames Thompson Archive
Dreamers and Doers
🔊 Listen RSS
Email This Page to Someone

 Remember My Information



=>

Bookmark Toggle AllToCAdd to LibraryRemove from Library • BShow CommentNext New CommentNext New ReplyRead More
ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
AgreeDisagreeLOLTroll
These buttons register your public Agreement, Disagreement, Troll, or LOL with the selected comment. They are ONLY available to recent, frequent commenters who have saved their Name+Email using the 'Remember My Information' checkbox, and may also ONLY be used once per hour.
Ignore Commenter Follow Commenter
Search Text Case Sensitive  Exact Words  Include Comments
List of Bookmarks

doer mountaineer

I intended to tell you about this paper some days ago, but for some reason didn’t get around to it. It was not procrastination on my part. Nothing so energetic as that.

Why is procrastination so prevalent? Why is it that I, of course not you, tend to postpone tasks, even on matters which are of interest to me but require exertion, and instead seek distraction? Why do I take all these pointless excursions into weather forecasts, updates on developing news stories, protracted discussions on the finer points of obscure technologies and sundry bits of trivia? Worse yet, why does the little I get done only happen in those brief moments when I tire of my own distractions, and the postponed task takes on its own aura of interest?

Enough of this. I must concentrate hard on this new paper which avers that the difference between doers and dreamers lies deep in the brain. Action control, they call it, and locate it in the amygdala. In my case Absolute Paralysis seems closer to the mark, but let us amble forwards.

The Structural and Functional Signature of Action Control
Caroline Schlüter, Christoph Fraenz, Marlies Pinnow, Patrick Friedrich, Onur Güntürkün, and Erhan Genç. Psychological Science 1-11. DOI: 10.1177/0956797618779380

https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797618779380

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1SxP9flqqiizAxOEpy4lswkUAMmmIrxPs

Abstract
Individuals differ in their ability to initiate self- and emotional-control mechanisms. These differences have been explicitly described in Kuhl’s action-control theory. Although interindividual differences in action control make a major contribution to our everyday life, their neural foundation remains unknown. Here, we measured action controI in a sample of 264 healthy adults and related interindividual differences in action control to variations in brain structure and resting-state connectivity. Our results demonstrate a significant negative correlation between decision-related action orientation (AOD) and amygdala volume. Further, we showed that the functional resting-state connectivity between the amygdala and the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex was significantly associated with AOD. Specifically, stronger functional connectivity was associated with higher AOD scores. These findings are the first to show that interindividual differences in action control, namely AOD, are based on the anatomical architecture and functional network of the amygdala.

The authors set out to look at why some people achieve their goals and others do not. Doers seem more capable of inhibiting irrelevant information, perhaps a frontal lobe function. The subjects were 264 university subjects, rarely the most representative human beings. They filled in a questionnaire about how they responded to reverses and disappointments; to boredom; and to distractions, to measure their action proneness on those three dimensions: 12 questions measured emotional preoccupation after failure; another 12 measured action versus hesitation in neutral circumstances; and 12 measured immersion in activities versus distractability.

Men were more able to get over emotions to reverses and disappointments than women, who tended to hold on to emotions and ruminate. However, when bored, men found it far more difficult than women to initiate new actions. Men and women were equally likely to remain immersed in an interesting activity.

The main finding when looking at all the subjects was that “individuals who are state oriented when it comes to initiating actions and therefore tend to hesitate or procrastinate show higher amygdala volume.” The correlation between amygdala size and the measure of action orientation was r= -0.235 which is not very big, but is the only area showing any noticeable correlation.

The authors say:

Thus, people with higher amygdala volume appear to be more state oriented and therefore tend to hesitate to initiate an intention and tend to delay the beginning of tasks without any good reason.

Regarding action control, this could mean that individuals with a larger amygdala volume have learned from past mistakes and evaluate future actions and their possible consequences more extensively. This, in turn, might lead to greater concern and hesitation, as observed in individuals with low AOD scores. Interestingly, it seems as if the amygdala is especially important when the results of a particular behavior are uncertain. This might explain why state-oriented individuals are especially vulnerable to the effects of uncontrollable outcomes and failures, whereas action-oriented individuals seem less affected by possible negative consequences.

In this population, it would seem that a large amygdala makes people fearful and therefore, in times of stress, hesitant and more likely to ruminate and procrastinate than leap to some concrete action.

Naturally, one has to be hesitant about this (perhaps I have a large amygdala), because the study is based on self-report rather than some experimental test of procrastination. Also, given that there are three major measures of action and 42 brain regions of interest, the sample size of 264 subjects, while having sufficient power, could still be prone chance findings.

This raises a more general issue: how do we ensure that we only compare brain regions with important aspects of behaviour, not a long list of possible one derived from countless questionnaires? One way would be to restrict brain scan studies to two measures: the general factor of intelligence and the general factor of personality. That would ensure that research focused on important matters. As ever, I can think of a counter-proposal. Perhaps the only important difference between one person and another, the only one which makes any impact on the world, is whether people get things done, or just dream about them.

Poetry makes nothing happen.

 
• Category: Science 
Hide 31 CommentsLeave a Comment
31 Comments to "Dreamers and Doers"
Commenters to Ignore...to FollowEndorsed Only
Trim Comments?
    []
  1. Toddy Cat says:

    “Poetry makes nothing happen.”

    As Captain Redbeard Rum would say, “That’s where you’re wrong!”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romanticism_and_the_French_Revolution#Shelley

    • Replies: @Cortes
  2. Proves my point. Revolution came first 1789, then the praise-singers, but in Shelley’s case (born 1792) pamphlets more than poetry. He didn’t cause Waterloo either.

  3. Actions are intentional and are therefore irreducible to brain states/structure.

    There is a distinction between “action” and “behavior”, the former is intentional while the latter is dispositional.

    • Replies: @Anon
  4. dearieme says:

    So a range-restricted set of doofuses opined about their own temperaments.

    I can barely contain my excitement.

  5. Cortes says:

    In one of his Lucas Davenport novels “Night Prey”, John Sandford, a longtime journalist, has his villain, a cat burglar, making an observation along the lines of

    “when in danger, go slower”

    And, like the daring young man on the flying trapeze, there’s no safety net when you decide to make the bold move not one other in ten thousand would…

    Or maybe just bone idleness.

  6. Cortes says:
    @Toddy Cat

    Isn’t “poet” = maker?

    Scots = makar.*

    Latin – faber.

    The magnificent Medardo Fraile, Spanish short story writer, has a collection entitled

    “Descubridor de nada” or (my translation) “Nothing uncovered”

    *see CS Lewis essay on Dunbar’s “Lament for the Makaris”

    https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/44205/lament-for-the-makers-56d22335db2cd

    • Replies: @James Thompson
    , @Anonymous
  7. AaronB says:

    Doers seem more capable of inhibiting irrelevant information, perhaps a frontal lobe function.

    In other words does are stupid, and don’t see through their delusions.

    Sages have known this for a long time.

  8. @Cortes

    Thanks so much for this beautiful poem. Not il miglior fabbro, but great nonetheless.

    • Replies: @dearieme
  9. Anonymous[299] • Disclaimer says:

    Why is procrastination so prevalent? Why is it that I, of course not you, tend to postpone tasks, even on matters which are of interest to me but require exertion, and instead seek distraction? Why do I take all these pointless excursions into weather forecasts, updates on developing news stories, protracted discussions on the finer points of obscure technologies and sundry bits of trivia? Worse yet, why does the little I get done only happen in those brief moments when I tire of my own distractions, and the postponed task takes on its own aura of interest?

    Guilty as charged. It’s either endorphins or dopamine. I forget.

    Our brains are constantly re-wiring.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  10. dearieme says:
    @James Thompson

    Didn’t you know it, Doc T? What was your secondary school thinking of?

  11. Realist says:

    Perhaps the only important difference between one person and another, the only one which makes any impact on the world, is whether people get things done, or just dream about them.

    Mountain climbing is for self gratification and has no impact of value to the world.

    Poetry makes nothing happen.

    Sometimes poetry inspires others to do things of value for our world.

  12. Not to disparage the amygdala, but when I go about my business, attending class n doing shopping in the neighbourhood, I see other social divisions. I see Asians focused on studying technology, whites reading n writing books n creating software, Hispanics talking happily while working hard at jobs involving physical labor, n blacks… well, blacks selling drugs, robbing people, n roaming around on bikes looking for open garage doors. I suppose that also is doing.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  13. Translating for normal narrative:

    ”There are people who know they have just one life and that’s no have such thing tomorrow, so they don’t need too much to be happy, even they tend to be melancholic, hyper-realistic, hyper-aware about immediate reality, even it’s doesn’t always translate in factual accuracy [often out of food chain- mentality], they are in existential accuracy. They often know or perceive how parasitic most human complex societies tend to be…”

    ”And there are domesticated ‘puppies’ [the majority] who believe chart human castles are only-possible-reality, and already have a innate archicteture of domestication imputs which make them adaptable to human-human farms”

    Supposedly dreamers are ALWAYS wrong and inferior than doers, based on Thompson perspective, basically because he’s a stereotypical doer* Maybe*. Almost dreamers are idealistic, and ideals tend to be ALWAYS right, less in their developments.

    Example of ideal many western dreamers fall in love today = racial equality.

    It’s not wrong, obviously, but the way they have developed their arguments and knowledge about it has been quite incorrect.

  14. Anon[381] • Disclaimer says:
    @RaceRealist88

    No, some actions are reflexes, and have no intention involved. There are other actions that are not intentional, as well. Faulty premise, and a non sequitur.

    And there is a problem with the behavior disposition thing as well, as inanimate objects have behavior, without having a disposition.

    • Replies: @Anon
  15. Anon[381] • Disclaimer says:
    @Anon

    Example from OED “The way in which a machine or natural phenomenon works or functions.
    ‘the erratic behaviour of the old car’ ”

    And no, it is not an appeal to authority as in a previous oddment of RaceRealist88, it is an example of common usage.

    (& Gene program/genetic program are common usage, with well understood meanings, in despite of RaceRealist88.)

  16. The human world can/may be divide in three major types [of course they will have mixed types too]

    - Observers

    - Manipulators

    - Workers

    Doers are centrically workers, those who have an intrinsic motivation [lower introspection/imagination or openess, higher conscientiousness or physical energy to work].

    Manipulators are those with higher physical energy to work or to interact socially and relatively higher introspection.

    Observers who are centrically dreamers, have the opposite general psychological profile of workers: high to very high on introspection [openess] and lower to conscientiousness.

  17. Anonymous[218] • Disclaimer says:

    Perhaps the only important difference between one person and another, the only one which makes any impact on the world, is whether people get things done, or just dream about them.

    Well, that sounds progressive, results-oriented, dynamic and all that crap, but it seems like most of what these virile, powerful “accomplishers” (Git ‘er dun!!) do is fuck over truly productive and creative people.

    Just because some rich bastard wants to do something does NOT mean it’s a good thing to do. Usually, it’s 90% bad idea. Makes money for rich guy, enslaves the rest of us.

  18. Anonymous[218] • Disclaimer says:
    @Sin City Milla

    Not to disparage the amygdala, but when I go about my business, attending class n doing shopping in the neighbourhood, I see other social divisions. I see Asians focused on studying technology, whites reading n writing books n creating software, Hispanics talking happily while working hard at jobs involving physical labor, n blacks

    Oh, for fuck’s sake, how goddamned cute can you get? Was your mom frightened by the word “and” in the delivery room? Grow the fuck up and spell like a man.

    • Replies: @Sin City Milla
  19. Anonymous[218] • Disclaimer says:
    @Cortes

    “Descubridor de nada” or (my translation) “Nothing uncovered”

    No, it means “nothing discovered”, or “he who discovers nothing”. Sorry, but context, ya know?

    • Replies: @Anon
  20. Anonymous[218] • Disclaimer says:
    @Anonymous

    Our brains are constantly re-wiring.

    As Maxwell Smart would say … “And loving it!”
    ;-)

  21. Anon[381] • Disclaimer says:
    @Anonymous

    How about ‘discoverer of nothing’.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  22. Anonymous[795] • Disclaimer says:
    @Anon

    How about ‘discoverer of nothing’.

    Could be that, too. Depends on reference and context, which was not supplied. One thing for sure is that it does NOT mean “Nothing uncovered”.

    • Replies: @Cortes
  23. this is a prose poem, please do not bother reading it if you are expecting something absolutely Prussianly clear ….

    in 1985 I was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the military of my country … 7 years active duty … then another job, although, as a hobby, I spent another 10 years as what my country calls a “reserve officer” …. in the 7 years active duty I was below average (according to the officer performance reports) for four years, above average for two years, and in one year … much much better than average, by several standard deviations …. and I lived that (lived that year in the full daylight and nightlight actuality of a year of our life), although life being what it is, I have not had a conversation with someone I served with since 2005 … but – and here is the point, with respect to this comment thread, here is the point with respect to what we dream and what we do — I often have dreams where I am asked to again be an officer, or an older sergeant, to get ready to fight some local battle at some border or near some conflagration (if it is apocalyptic in nature the calm tenor of my dream hides that fact from me), and I wonder why they think I am not too old to be a soldier again, why they do not notice that I have not – for more than a decade or two – kept up with the obligation to have my uniform ready, to have my name sewn in the right place over the right side, over the heart, to have the officer rank established with the correct – and believe it or not, I now forget what you call the things (res, rei, rei, rem, re) that I used to wear on my shoulders, that I used to pin onto my ‘cap’, that I used to stick onto the front fender of my car so that I when I drove back onto base the guards at the – and here I go, forgetting again – at that thing at the entrance of the base where guards decide who can enter …

    anyway, my point is, in those dreams, I am excited just to be a simple basic officer. But in real life, for one year, I was several standard deviations more useful than the average simple basic officer! “simple basic officer” would have been so wanting, so disappointing …. ! (trust me, I remember) …. So reality is sometimes more the sort of thing we do when we are doing something than dreams are, where we sometimes, like me (and I always wake up with regret that the dream was not real, even after these dreams where I did not even have a competently put together uniform, not to mention I am never competently armed in those dreams – there are never working sidearms or anything like that) … sorry to go on so long, but I am trying to reproduce the logic of my dreams which I enjoy so much (but probably won’t quite as much anymore now that I have gone on and on about them) … reality is sometimes more the sort of thing we do when we are doing something than dreams are …. in dreams we are important because we imagine that we are valued …. well I am just one of thousands (tens of thousands) who actually did something back in the day, and not for a moment do I remember with dream-like fondness the idea that I was successful (even if in only a way that nobody remembers, except once in a while a very talented historian) as if that memory is in any way important. I mean, I remember it with a little bit of satisfaction, but nobody … and I mean nobody … besides me remembers a tenth of what I did, not even a hundredth. (also, I messed up and did not ask for the right level of medal. still, I am glad I didn’t ask for a more prestigious medal – that would have been undignified).

    That being said, I would trade it all in exchange for one hour of watching, either now, or some day in the future, or even (dreaming again) in exchange for watching , some day in the past,

    the pure and simple and virtuous happiness we could cause for those who did not know …

    through no fault of ours, or through our fault … the happiness we could bring to someone who never had anyone try all that hard to bring them happiness before. It is no small thing to be a friend to a creature who never before had a real friend in this world.

    But I do not have the right to make that trade. First, I do not know what would go wrong (in an alternate universe) if the things I did as a talented officer, in that one year where I was actually effective, had not been done. Second, we have one life to live, and we can live it in dreams, or we can live it in the simple light of every day God allows us to live; we have to choose one or the other, and I made my choice long ago. Third – I really really want the right to make that trade, and I have never been able to do so. It is nice to think of what I could do if I could …. but I am not the only person who cannot undo the past … so, at this intense border, I either trust God or I don’t … I do, of course, and so should you …. God loves us the way we are, but loves us too much to let us stay that way, and time is not an illusion, but time, while real, is nothing more than our little brother or our little sister, just another creature, and a younger one than you or me, another creature who would love to dream tonight about those first days when the memory that God had just created us was fresh and present and so close that you could touch it, like the stars above the desert in my beloved Sonora Desert or my beloved Great South Bay … I remember

  24. Poetry makes nothing happen

    lol I see what you did there. Can I get a “Hail Kek!”?

    Byron’s “Epitaph to a Dog” makes something happen. It makes me cry every time I read it, and has done so consistently since I was in high school.

    Psychobabbling charlatans would check their pulled-out-of-someone’s-ass checklist, tick a box and declare that to be the type of “shallow emotional affect” typical of psychopaths.

    And nobody can claim that the passage quoted below is not ‘poetry’: it is equal to the very best that the English language has ever produced (for mine, that would be Byron’s “Epitaph“, and Chesterton’s “The Secret People“, in a tie), and it reoriented the world –

    THESE are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated.

    Paine’s prose helped changed regimes: it’s not over-egging the pudding to claim that Common Sense and The Rights of Man were key contributions to the success of both the American and French Revolutions. Not so much the launch of either revolution, but certainly as motivation and statements of principle.

    And like all men of true character, Paine stuck to his principles although it alienated everyone – to the extent that his appeals for clemency for French aristocrats led to him being sentenced to death, less than a year after having been granted citizenship as recognition for the part he played in the Revolution (he got a lucky break and wasn’t executed). Fucking revolutionaries – they start swinging the axe the moment they get power.

    He died alone and ungarlanded. Contrast that with the orgiastic cumshot that the Empire just spooged all over “Hanoi Songbird” McCain.

  25. Cortes says:
    @Anonymous

    Hmm. I did add “(My translation)”.

    And I’ve read the book.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  26. Anonymous[349] • Disclaimer says:
    @Cortes

    Hmm. I did add “(My translation)”.

    And I’ve read the book.

    LOL. That would be “context”.

  27. A high IQ-person without

    -creativity

    -rationality

    in above average levels it’s just like a great xerox machine..

  28. Cognition is an action [to explore given space-time]
    Emotion is a reaction [to judge itself based on cognition]

    Captain Latinus Obvius attacking again…

    Oo la-la

  29. Cortes says:

    Too many viewings of “Willie Wonka” with the tyrant Cortesita probably caused a blind spot, but, hey and ho:

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ode_(poem)

  30. @Anonymous

    “Spell like a man”.

    Hilarious! My humble efforts to rationalize English spelling n bring English a step closer to most other languages ot not be seen as a challenge to undermine one’s masculinity! Go with t flo!

Current Commenter
says:

Leave a Reply - Comments on articles more than two weeks old will be judged much more strictly on quality and tone


 Remember My InformationWhy?
 Email Replies to my Comment
Submitted comments become the property of The Unz Review and may be republished elsewhere at the sole discretion of the latter
Subscribe to This Comment Thread via RSS Subscribe to All James Thompson Comments via RSS