Psycho Cybernetics - A Lesson to Practice Without Measure

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Extract from the Book Psychocybernetics by Dr Max Maxwell "Although we may learn fast, we do not learn well under "crisis" conditions. Throw a man who can't swim into water over his head, and the crisis itself may give Mm the power to swim to safety. He learns fast, and manages to swim somehow. But he will never learn to become a championship swimmer.

The crude inept stroke that he used to rescue himself becomes "fixed" and it is difficult for Mm to learn better ways of swimming. Because of his ineptness he may perish in a real crisis where he is required to swim a long distance.

Dr. Edward C. Tolman, psychologist and expert on animal behavior at the University of California, says that both animals and men form "brain maps" or "cognitive maps" of the environment while they are learning.

If the motivation is not too intense, if there is not too much of a crisis present in the learning situation, these maps are broad and general. If the animal is over-motivated, the cognitive map is narrow and restricted. He learns just one way of solving his problem.

In the future, if this one way happens to be blocked, the animal becomes frustrated, and fails to discern alternative routes or detours. He develops a "one response," cut and dried, preconceived, and tends to lose the ability to react spontaneously to a new situation. He cannot improvise. He can only follow a set plan."

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