Impaired dynamics of mental activity
Recognition of the reflex nature of thinking means recognizing it as a process. This was written by IM Sechenov, indicating that the idea has a certain beginning, current and end.
We can not sufficiently analyze the internal patterns of thinking, investigate the structure of mental operations, with the help of which the objective properties of the object are reflected, if we do not analyze the procedural aspect of mental activity. The use of generalized methods of solving problems, actualization of adequate knowledge of subjects require not only the preservation of intellectual operations, but also the dynamics of thinking. SL Rubinstein repeatedly stressed that reducing thinking to the operational side and not taking into account its procedural aspect means eliminating thinking itself.
The definition of thinking as a process is applicable not only to the general theoretical characteristic of thinking, but also to each individual thought act. For the successful implementation of an intellectual act, it is necessary to allocate adequate communication systems, discard collateral, evaluate every thought operation during its implementation.
Features of the implementation of such a complex, multi-stage in its structure of activities constitute its dynamic characteristics.
As we pointed out above, one of the features of thinking as the highest stage of cognition is its mediation. Of course, the realization of this mediated is provided by the correct structure of concepts. The knowledge of facts hidden from direct perception is possible when a person is able to analyze, generalize perceived facts. However, the realization of this mediation, the transition from one judgment to another, is also connected with the existence of a more or less long chain of inferences. It is the chain of reasoning that turns into reasoning that is the true manifestation of thinking as a process. Therefore, in the study of thinking, its formation and disintegration, it is not enough to confine oneself to analyzing the formation and disintegration of concepts, only one characteristic of intellectual operations. Our studies  have shown that violations of the generalization process are not the only variant of thinking disorders. Moreover, the often occurring disturbances in thinking do not reduce to the disintegration of concepts; the painful states of the brain lead most often to dynamic disturbances of thinking.
A few works are devoted to the disturbance of the dynamics of thinking. Although some psychiatric studies speak of the dynamic nature of certain disorders of thinking, but this implies their reversibility.
We have already indicated that in a number of patients (for example, patients with cerebral vascular diseases) fluctuations in mental performance led to memory fluctuations, depending on the complexity of the task performed, but on the exhaustibility of the cortical neurodynamics of patients. Similar fluctuations, which acted as inconsistency of judgments, were observed in the mental activity of patients.
Lability of Thinking
A characteristic feature of this violation was the instability of the way the task was performed. The level of generalization of patients has not generally been reduced; patients correctly summarized the material; comparison operations, transfers were not violated. However, the adequacy of the patient's judgments, as we said above, was not sustainable.
Let us dwell in somewhat more detail on the methods of action of these patients when they perform the task "classification of objects."
Patients easily assimilate the instruction, apply a method adequate to the decision conditions, begin to lay out the cards on a generalized basis, but after some time they leave the correct way for the solution. Reaching in some cases a high level of generalization, patients occasionally get off on the path of incorrect, random combinations. These fluctuations are of a different nature.
1. Very often there were alternations of generalized and specifically situational combinations. Let's give some examples.
Patient M-in (closed brain trauma), who began to lay out cards on generalized grounds, forming groups of plants, animals, suddenly begins to doubt where to place > fly agaric: It's harmful, fire to the side & quot ;. Similarly, he does not know where to place the beetle: Put it to the book and the notebook, it's also learned in school & quot ;. After the experimenter asked the patient to work more attentively, he somewhat confusedly said: "Wait. Yes, I have dishes here, flora ... Of course, the fungus belongs to it, regardless of whether it is harmful or not; and put the beetle on the animal world. " In the end, the patient gets the following groups: people, animals, plants, dishes, furniture, school supplies, household items. The experimenter asks to unite some groups. Sick: "People with animals, huh?" Plants ...
Well, then how? After all, the rest does not unite: how to combine household utensils with office supplies?
The patient becomes visibly tired, there comes an easy tremor of hands, sweating. The experimenter begins a conversation on a topic that does not relate to experiment. After 5 minutes the patient returns to work at the request of the experimenter and immediately performs it correctly and generically.
Patient S. (arteriosclerosis of the brain). Having correctly selected a group of tools, he puts in the same image "blacksmith", "as it is painted with a hammer in his hand and in general it works using different tools (it should be noted that the patient has isolated a group of people before). To the experimenter's question: What do you have in this group? the patient responds: Here the people & quot ;, and then immediately shifts the blacksmith to the group of people .
These examples show that in these cases, fluctuations in the mental activity of patients manifested themselves in an alternation of generalized and situational decisions. Completion of tasks at the level of generalized solutions was not a mode of work for patients.
2. Errors of patients consisted also in the fact that logical connections were replaced by random combinations. Thus, the correct execution of the job classification of objects was disturbed by the fact that the patients united the objects into one group only because the cards were close. They often noticed their mistakes and corrected them.
3. Erroneous decisions of patients are manifested in the formation of the same name groups: patients often select objects on the basis of the correct common characteristic, but immediately start to allocate a similar group in meaning. So, for example, the patient could identify a group of people, which included a doctor, a child, a cleaning woman, and immediately identified another group of people, which included a sailor, skier, etc. Let us dwell only on some of them, often found in the clinic.
Violation of the dynamics of thinking, expressed in the alternation of adequate and inadequate solutions, did not lead to gross violations of the structure of thinking. It only distorted the correct course of the patient's judgments for a certain period of time and was, obviously, a violation of the mental performance of patients.
In some cases, the disruption of the dynamics of thinking was of a more persistent nature, changing the very structure of thinking. Lability of thinking is observed in patients with manic-depressive psychosis in the manic phase of the disease.
Manic condition is characterized by high mood and well-being, psychomotor agitation of patients. Patients constantly loudly talk, laugh, joke, accompanying their speech with lively, expressive gestures and facial expressions. They are extremely distracting. Each new impression, spoken word, perceived object directs their thoughts and ideas, which change so quickly that patients can not register them in their speech. The sick do not have time to finish one thought, as they already pass to the other; sometimes they cry out only single words. It is characteristic that, despite the extreme distractibility and scattered thinking, patients in a manic state are vividly watching what is happening around them, often striking with their wit and subtlety of individual remarks.
Typically, experimenting with patients in the manic state is difficult because of their pronounced distraction, which excludes fixation in the experimental situation. Experimental study patients are amenable only in different degrees of hypomaniacal state, at which it is possible to note some pathological changes in their mental activity.
The understanding of the situation, the possibility of analysis and synthesis in these patients are often not violated, but the fulfillment of any experimental task did not cause a certain strategy for their thinking. Patients do not think about the question addressed to them, do not delve into the meaning of the task. They impulsively begin to perform. To the question, what is the commonality and difference between the concepts table and "chair", one of the patients (with secondary education) responds: "They have in common the fact that the table and the stool have four legs, and the difference is that the chair has a back, the table does not have". When folding pictures in a sequential order, patients of this type, having comprehended the plot, arrange them in any order.
Emerging associations are of a chaotic nature and are not decelerated. Some words cause new associations, which the patients immediately express; any arising representation, any emotional experience are reflected in speech of patients. Patients focus on the experimental task only for short periods of time. Understanding the meaning of the proverb, they can not explain it. Quite often some word of the adage causes the chain associations; Sometimes patients, without explaining the proverbs, bring a suitable example from their life; the latter reminds them of something else similar, and the thought of the patients proceeds in a random direction. For example, the patient K. in the hypomaniacal state explained the proverb "Not everything is gold that glitters" as follows: "Gold is a fine gold watch presented to me by a brother, he is very good. When we studied together, we quarreled, but then we lived peacefully. My brother was very fond of the theater, we saw a play with him ... etc. The chaotic nature of the associations prevented the correct explanation of the proverb, the word gold immediately led to a chain of memories. But other variants are possible, when patients in their explanation omit any link. So, for example, another patient immediately understood the meaning of this proverb and as an example, as later managed to find out, wanted to bring the case when the apple, seemingly good, inside turned out to be a wormhole. However, the patient did not tell this case, but immediately began to say: "Apples, of course, are wormy. Here, for example, there are such varieties of apples, when you do not think about it ... Our neighbor Michurinsky apples. Of course, the development of Michurin's teaching is of great importance ... Then follow the different memories of the familiar Michurinians, etc. Similarly, a patient in a hypomanic state, singling out a group of people, i.e. performing the task at the level of correct generalizations, suddenly, seeing the picture "blacksmith", began to recite: "We are smiths and a friend to us - hammer ... I love ... old revolutionary songs ... the song is our friend. Are there any cards that resemble a song among them, art in general? Yes, the pictures do not matter; who drew it to you, the artist? From the word "ill" & quot ;. The patient laughs, holds a picture and does not perform the task. When the experimenter asks him to turn to the task, recalling that it is necessary to find the principle of classification, the patient notices: "Yes, I wanted people to be separated from animals," and continues to decompose on a generalized basis.
The patient was given the meaning of the task, but any word that he or the experimenter himself said was distracting the patient's direction and leading him away from his immediate task. The mere flow of mental activity was inadequate. With the help of the experimenter, the intellectual production of the patient could often be even adequate to the goal (in the end the patient correctly sorted the cards or defined the concepts), but the whole course of judgments, which the patient chose independently, was unstable.The instability of the ways of doing the work achieves in some patients an extremely exaggerated form - increased "responsiveness." They are not only unable to keep their judgments in the direction established earlier, but also begin to react to any stimulus addressed to them. So, after hearing how another patient says that he was given a sausage for breakfast today, the patient, telling the story of how the jackdaw, repainted, flew to the pigeon, says: "And her doves were treated with sausage."
With particular clarity, the phenomenon of "responsiveness" was found in the associative experiment. As responses, the names of objects that were before the eyes of the patients ("wreaths") often appeared; when presenting the word singing the patient responds with the word table & quot ;, on the word wheel - the word glasses etc. A similar tendency to call things that were before my eyes was observed sometimes in patients of other groups, but it was enough to instruct the experimenter that the patients begin to correctly execute the instruction. For our patients, the indication for only a short time elicited the correct reactions; After a short period of time, the patients again called objects that fell in their field of vision.
This trend was also in the variant of the associative experiment, where the instruction provided for a special orientation of the answers, in particular, where it was required to name a certain number of objects of a certain color (red, green). This problem can cause known difficulties in healthy subjects; it assumes active inhibition of those words that do not correspond to the meaning of the instruction. In these cases, the subjects resort to various techniques that should facilitate the recall of necessary words (for example, look around themselves, look at surrounding objects), but they are not used by them to answer if words do not correspond to the instruction. The latter acquires a decisive significance; the answers of a healthy person in the situation of the experiment depend on the conditions of the problem, on the requirements of the experimenter.
Patients in this experiment at times called the objects in front of them, although they were by no means painted in the required colors. Instruction of the experimenter caused purposeful actions for a short period of time. Any object, any accidentally heard phrase could cause actions of patients, inadequate to the content of their activities, distorting the course of their judgments.
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