Automatic Reflex - Spontaneous Reaction - Logical or Illogical ?
Logical or Illogical
Reflex, spontaneous reaction, gut reaction, instinctive reaction, reflex action, involuntary actions, unthinking response, knee-jerks,
Whatever you might like to call it, it all means the same thing, it occurs without conscious choice and quite often ‘illogical’ especially in adults
From the moment we are born we all have these ‘Spontaneous Reactions’ Babies are born with what are known as ‘Primitive Reflexes’. These reflexes allow the babies to respond to the environment that surrounds them before any learning takes place.
The ‘Rooting reflex’ is apparent from birth, a baby will turn his/her head towards anything that touches the mouth or cheek and the head will turn in decreasing circles until the object is found. The need to feed stimulates this response and usually disappears around the age of 4 months of age. Breastfed babies will find Mum’s breast without having to search from about 3 weeks.
The ‘Sucking reflex’ is a survival instinct. Again The need to feed stimulates this response as soon as anything is felt in the baby’s mouth.
The ‘Grasping reflex’ Stroke a baby’s palm with your finger and his/her fingers will automatically curl around.
Did you know that a baby’s grip can be strong enough to support his/her own body weight. A baby’s grip is strongest in the first 8 weeks.
The ‘Startled reflex’ or ‘Moro reflex’ This occurs when the baby suddenly feels as though he/she is falling, or hears a loud noise or a sudden movement, or even when the temperature suddenly changes. The head and leg spread out and the arms lifted upward with open palms, then the hands will close into fists as if embracing either himself or his/her mother to regain balance.
This reflex usually disappears around 2 months of age
The ‘Swimming reflex’ this again is a survival reflex. If you put a new-born into water he/she will move her arms and legs as if swimming.
These ‘‘primitive reflexes’ only last for the first few months of life until baby gains some control over what he or she is doing or wants to do and the ‘learning’ process begins.
Do these spontaneous actions, reflexes only occur in babies or do we ‘adults’ continue to have uncontrolled responses. Read on and see.
I’m not talking about the guy in the pub who thumped you one and you naturally, instinctively thumped him back. No I am talking about the more basic instincts without thought or conscious choice.
You can no more stop these reactions than you are able to stop a ball rolling downhill.
Breathing is a spontaneous reaction; you don’t have to think about it. If you fall it is likely you will put your hands forward to prevent falling on your face. When you blink or open your mouth to eat, it is a spontaneous reaction.
Your brain tells your body what you need to do without having to go through the ‘thought process’ first.
When the Brain gets it Wrong
But what about when the brain sends the wrong message?. When your brain tells your body to do something unnecessary or even illogical.
We do many things on ‘reflex’ that just don’t make any sense at all.
When you are using a stick mixer and anticipate the contents of the bowl being splattered around the room. What do you do? Shut your eyes right? Hold your breath right? Grit your teeth right?
Our brain tells us to do these things, but why? What earthly good are any of these responses going to do, how are any of these things going to prevent the batter splattering all around?
Absolutely not, they’re all illogical messages sent from our brains.
Does the Brain have its Own Sense of Humour?
Wriggling and chuckling away in there and we don’t even know it’s there.
OK get ready to make us look like total idiots Brain. We are sitting in the car driving along a narrow road when all of a sudden a wide load is coming towards us … there is nowhere to go, no room to pull over… what do we do?… but wait… Brain to the rescue of course. Our brains always have the solution right? We pull our elbows in tight and squeeeeeze our knees (and yes buttocks too) together right? That’s sure to get us through that gap that looks too narrow.
Ok we squeezed through that one safely.
But 'Brain' hasn’t finished having fun with us yet.
Oh no, you bet it hasn’t!
It’s a beautiful sunny day and we are driving along enjoying the scenery, appreciating the wonder of nature. Just ahead there is a shady avenue of trees, blossoms spiralling to the ground, branches swaying in the gentle breeze overhanging the road. We don’t realise until we get closer just how LOW those branches are hanging the road, they are going to swipe us… so what do we do? …brain tells us to duck of course, we duck low in our seats and tuck our heads into our chest. While the brain is having a good old chuckle “Haha I knew I’d get you with that one”
When you find yourself in these situations
What do you do?
The Brain Loves To Tease Us
Ok we have arrived home in one piece. Time to get dinner on everyone is hungry after our eventful drive. Dashing around, pots and pans out, food from the fridge, you turn around and the cat has jumped onto the table and you know that jug of milk is just going to go crashing to the floor. “Open your eyes wide then quick shut them tight” maybe if you don’t see it it’s not going to happen right? Oooops that didn’t work.
Dinner over with everyone settles in front of the TV ready to watch their favourite movie. Of course the movie has to have a high speed car chase doesn’t it.
Dad has the remote and is cursing because nothing is working, the batteries must be running down. OK Dad press harder on the button that might make the batteries work right?
OK so that last one wasn’t a spontaneous reaction, an automatic reflex, just Dad being dumb huh
Time To Watch The Movie
Hello!, you weren’t driving, you can take your foot off the brake and breath out now
OK Now be Honest
How many times did your foot reach for the brake?
So you think you don't do this stuff and you don't look silly huh?
So are our Brains really Logical?
There are many more things that we do automatically, spontaneously on reflex but illogically.
So next time you do something that doesn’t make sense just listen, can you hear your brain having a good old chuckle?
Copyright © Rosemary Sadler April 2012. All rights reserved
I was sorely tempted to list this under games and hobbies- ‘LOGIC AND BRAIN TEASERS’