The information processing system

Humans are equipped with  an information processing system that allows them to adapt to the environment. However, the system not only processes sensory information; information from outside, but also information from within. Moreover, the two information flows constantly influence each other. This goes so far that the brain first creates a completely brain-constructed representation when confronted with an external stimulus. There are two reasons for this: Firstly, such a construction is created very quickly. Much faster than the construction that is created a little later when all sensory information has been processed. This is very important in a life-threatening situation. However, it can also lead to an incorrect representation.


A young man walks along a forest path early in the morning. He is lost in thought and doesn't pay much attention to where he is walking. Suddenly he sees out of the corner of his eye that there is a black snake in front of his feet in the middle of the path. To avoid stepping on the snake, he jumps wildly to the side. His foot ends up in a hole and he sprains his ankle. He looks intently at the snake. There is no snake on the path at all. It is a winding branch blackened by the rain. He breathes a sigh of relief for a moment, but then he feels the pain in his ankle.

Secondly, an observation is first interpreted and categorized by the brain. This ensures that we experience the representation as our own representation. After the brain has formed a construction itself, all kinds of cognitive systems ensure that the representation that the brain itself has produced is compared with the information that comes in through the senses. The mental image that results from this comparison is also not an optical image, but an image produced by the brain. That is a very important difference with the information processing system of a computer. A computer equipped with software for "artificial intelligence" can also adapt to the changing environment in a certain sense, but can only do this with information brought in from outside. He cannot direct himself. The next step is that cognitive processes in the working memory ensure that the information is filtered and - if deemed correct - further processed and possibly stored for later. Because the brain is able to filter important information, it is also able to resist certain stimuli and thus suppress impulsive actions. The brain cannot stop the stimulus, but it can shorten the duration of the emotion caused by the stimulus. Because communication between the different brain areas is not yet optimal in adolescence, adolescents are less able than adults to control emotions. Furthermore, adolescent working memory filters different information than adult working memory does, because adolescents prioritize different things than adults.