16 Şubat 2008 Cumartesi


What is the reason that makes a decision correct? It is first of all the availability of correct and sufficient information. “You should not have an opinion before you have sufficient information!” said Uğur MUMCU, a renown newspaper researcher-writer and assassin of fundemantalist activists. On the other hand, the governors of countries which have the largest information sources and means can and do make mistakes. There must be some other reasons…
What is the role of time in the correctness of the decision? Is being at the “Right time right place” enough? “Thinking in the speed of light” or “To understand papa before hearing the pa”, (“Leb demeden leblebiyi anlamak”, a Turkish addage) etc… Does thinking fast provide correctness to the decision or even contribute to it?

Is it good to make all decisions quickly? Is this approach that speed is more important than anything else as in the cowboy duels valid in all other cultures? Should it be valid? Does speed in the decision making process guarantee correctness?

There is also the case, in the Turkish culture where a village child, under the pressure of life, can not answer the question of a TV reporter because he is afraid of saying anything wrong… Maybe that is the reason our educators emphasize ‘make a decision as quick as possible and say something rather than remain silent’….

In fact, we can look from a view point so that these two vastly seperate examples can appear to be not so far. This point of view is not the speed of the decision making process but the time, the duration dedicated to making a decision.

The thing that determines the correctness of a decision is the timeframe dedicated to its formation and the chosen moment for its declaration. One should decide first when the decision should be taken in order to make the right decision. Then decide how long it should take, the timeframe necessary to make this decision. Determining the timeframe correctly and applying it give the result of a correct decision.

The processing of information in our brains does not happen in a moment… It takes time. Just try it when you can not remember something. Try to recall a few things related to the thing that you can not remember. The second or third degree things related to these… Leave some space in between and hesitate. You will remember the missing thing innately in a while…

The phenomena related to the decision while making it are processed in our mind or in the common wisdom similarly to the above. Phenomena trigger other phenomena that are semantically related to them. The depths reached by chain triggering or cascade connections increase according to the seriousness of the situation. Things that have to be accounted for must be kept in the working memory where they can easily be noticed. The solution of the problem may require obsession and concentration even focusing to the matter. While some of these effect the efficiency of processing, all of these happen and are controlled according to the sense of time provided by the timeframe.

The timeframe, namely the duration and the deadline to make a decision is a unique subsistance for making the right decision. If you do not put in enough time you may miss all the phenomenons related to the subject. You may miss the chains of phenomena related to each other, the cause and result relations… You may make decision quickly and easily because your working memory is not overloaded. This gives you the possibility to handle more difficult decisions to come.

If you dedicate more than necessary time to decision making, you may get lost in apparently related but not vital details and get drowned in depths. Your working memory gets overloaded, you may lose the freshness necessary to make healthy decisions. Obsession, concentration and focusing becomes an open-end purpose in themselves when they are not directed to a substantial aim and may damage your personal health permanently.

Determining the right moment and the timeframe to make a decision provides correctness. This is difficult to apply in actual life ofcourse… For ex. in the emergency intervention of some cases, is the timeframe shorter than duration necessary for choosing the right option.

The doctor that intervenes to an emergency situation is forced to choose at least ONE of the available options rather than the best one of the available ones. It is not more important to find the best choice than applying at least one choice as quick as possible to give the patient a chance to live… The timeframe alone determines the correctness of the decision in emergency conditions.

The statesmen are sometimes in a similar situation when the necessary timeframe is much longer than available time to make a decision… They can not wait and see the preliminary results of their decisions and apply recursion to correct them, which may take quiet sometime in social matters.
It is not a surprise good politicians have fortitude and clairvoyance.

If carefully studied, one can observe that Einstein’s proof of Newton’s mechanical movement law is wrong in speeds close to the light’s, is based on looking at the phenomenon from a different point of observation, namely the timeframe that movements take place.

Timeframe determines correctness of the decision.




Abstract: CHRISTOPHER D. WICKENS has written an article titled ‘Multiple resources and performance prediction’ at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Institute of Aviation Willard Airport, Aviation Human Factors Division, Aviation Research Laboratory. This article proposes a model to predict human performance under conditions that require multiple mental resources. I will make use of the information provided in Wickens’s article to point at the importance of trigging in human cognition.

To my fellow Turkish aviator Mr. Servet BAŞOL,

A trigger is a simple, high “affordance”, easy to use mechanism. You should not think elaborate things to make it work. Its implementation should be independent from the logic of the system it starts. Starting the system must be totally insulated from the decision making. It should work as simple as a Texas cowboy firing his gun.

Our brain does multiprocessing, multitasking and distributed processing. We can talk and walk at the same time. We can talk to two different persons on different subjects in the same time interval. MRI pictures show that different parts of our brains get activated for different types of tasks. We perform these tasks using various resources of our minds.

“The multiple resource model proposes that there are four important categorical and dichotomous dimensions that account for variance in time-sharing performance. That is, each dimension has two discrete 'levels'. All other things being equal (i.e. equal resource demand or single task difficulty), two tasks that both demand one level of a given dimension (e.g. two tasks demanding visual perception) will interfere with each other more than two tasks that demand separate levels on the dimension (e.g. one visual, one auditory task). The four dimensions, shown schematically in figure 1, and described in greater detail in the following pages, are processing stages, perceptual modalities, visual channels, and processing codes. Consistent with the theoretical context of multiple resources, all of these dichotomies can be associated with distinct physiological mechanisms.”

Wickens’s model has been supported by many MRI works that study the brain locations activated by specific tasks. Unfortunately many mental tasks are complex. For ex. speech activates many parts of the brain at the same time. This makes it extremely difficult to drive some generalizations in regards to the character of these activated brain locations. Simply it is difficult to claim that there are simple, straight forward, seperate, ‘processors’ or even ‘centers’. Wickens’s aproach and ‘resources’ model serves its purpose without making unproved generalisations.

But, Wickens also states: “In employing multiple resource theory to guide such dichotomous categorical design decisions, it is of course important to bear in mind the other consequences of switching from one resource category to another, such as, for example, the fact that a visual-spatial map may be a more compatible means of delivering geographical information than via words.” Wickens’s statement points at the overload that arises because of changing the modality during task performance, namely driving a car and navigating at the same time. Wickens clearly assumes the existence of some sort of a trigging mechanism, which triggers an other modality with some mental performance cost.

Today, we certainly know that there are many neural networks in our brains. There are also connections between dedicated neural networks. My point is: Wickens’s ‘resources’ are triggable with some sort of trigging mechanisms, possibly hard and/or soft. Moreover believes this humble dreamer, mental triggers are ubiquitous. We can observe them beginning from low level physiological structures going up to skills, hobbies, professions, habits.

Trigging mechanisms can be built in many different ways. Seeing objects, images trigger our brain’s visual resources, hearing sounds triggers hearing resources… Visual and acoustic signals are recieved by different organs and this provides a hardware connection and filtering mechanism.

But it is not that simple. The sound and visual signals also have different data characteristics. The frequency bands for sound and image are different. It is not only the organs and physical connections that triggers our brain’s visual and acoustic centers but also the character, the format of the sound and the image signals.

It is amazing, how brain transforms and processes signals of different modalities such as sound and image. The signals loss their perception formats when they are taken into the working memory as semantic chunks… How does the central processor decide which processor to trig for which signal then?

There must be some encoding algoritm, maybe only the amount of data or the SPEED. The way the data is provided and processed could trigger the related processor. A neural network could simply work as an RC filter circuit besides its logical function and filter acoustic or visual signals as high or low pass filters, maybe.
Within a certain modality, content adrressing triggers related items at different semantic levels. For ex., when you see me, it triggers your previous impressions about me.

Trigging does not function linearly either. Same events do not trigger same reactions in our brain under all conditions. Anticipation, priming, mood, motivation, context and memory usage affects trigging mechanisms of our brain.

My second point is: Trigging is a vital element of our mental life both socially and individually… Sadly trigging can be used by people with bad intentions such as the assassination in the beginning of the first WW. On the other hand it is a rich human resource that can not be overused. Emergency psychology, decision making under stress, large systems, aviation, air traffic control have many applications for it. Slow progressing processes such as education, politics etc. also…

A trigger mechanism reduces flexibility but increases automacity when designed correctly. It brings a level of abstraction. There are different types of mental triggers: For remembering things, you could say ‘I will remember this tonight’, or ‘I will wake up 6 O’Clock in the morning’, ‘I will stop thinking about my job when I come to the stairs of my house, till I begin to drink my coffee after my dinner, I may remember it if necessary’…
It looks like the religious commitments that one makes before fasting etc…

Reaction triggers could be ‘I will push the brake to the bottom when it is inevitable’, but this should rather be a warmth in your right leg muscle rather than words… Sports is all about doing the right triggering.

Finally, cognition, a healthy mental life requires the development and maintenance of personal triggering mechanisms. Emergency processing, analysis, smalltalk, imagination, design, planning, mindfullness, high concentration, high concentration long duration working, recovering emotions after heavy cognitive work… Staying healthy as a successful professional requires maintenance and enhancement of your mental triggering processes so that you sustain your well-being.


Nobody needs to think what to do with a hammer. Hammer’s form indicates its function. This is called affordance. Trigger is the same as hammer in this sense. A person who sees a gun understands immediately that he has to pull the trigger to fire. Trigger’s affordance is also high similar to hammer.

Imagine all the weapons or devices that begin to work by a single signal. A shotgun, a pistol, a hair dryer, an automobile, a computer and any device that has an open button… All of these have a button, switch etc. a mechanism that makes a device work, namely a trigger. Even a baby recognizes that she has to push a button to make something work. They usually make a game out of it though…

Trigger is very simple and compact. Its purpose is without any hesitation crystal clear. Its physical appearence, colour and purpose are easily percievable. If the mechanism that the trigger trigs is related to human life, these attributes are even more clear.

From the point of design should the trig mechanism not bear any cognitive function. The action of pulling the trigger should not involve any thinking. The safety mechanism of a gun requires the user to evaluate the situation. After the safety mechanism is released, pulling the trigger and trigging the gun to fire should be extremely easily.

A good trigger should enable its user to react immediately and as required. The Trigger should not have any evaluation, judging or logical ability. Trigger should immediately do what it is required to .

If abstracted, may these attributes of trig be applied to other mechanisms that start systems. For ex., the decision making techniques that we use under emergency conditions, which are very simple and results oriented.
When reacting to a person dying in an emergency room, it is not more important to decide which one is the most appropriate among the 2-3 available options than to apply one of them as quick as possible to give the patient at least some chance of survival… It is a ‘trigger’ that controls the behaviour of the doctor at that moment, a ‘trigger’ formed previously by his education and experience. It is vital to pull the trigger at that moment more than anything else, just like a Texas cowboy…

If we generalize a little bit, trigging is done after an algorithm, a logic, a decision making process. A good trig should be independent from this mechanism. You must first decide to shoot and after that pull the trig and shoot. The total duration to do this is yor response time infront of the threat directed to you. An other article of mine on how you can minimize this duration and the mental substructure of trigers will be available at
http://largesystems-atc.blogspot.com in a short while….

It is possible to observe the existance of trigging mechanisms in every decision making process. To make a decision requires the evaluation of the available data and reaching a resolution at the end of this process. Reaching a resolution is the result of a TRIGGER mechanism. Large systems, pilots, air traffic controllers, firefighters, soldiers, doctors and other emergency personnel have to make decisions under stress. It is vital to have developed and prepared the correct TRIGGER mechanisms in these situations… The responsibility of the training and support for the mental health of these professions is yet to be resumed completely even by the European authorities.

Trigging mechanisms are subsistent for our minds in the daily life… The trig should be attached to a condition. Such as ‘I will wake up at 6 O’Clock in the morning’ or, ‘I will forget everything related to the job at the entrance stairs of my Home, till I drink my coffee after the dinner and relax when it may come back if necessary…’ As it is called ‘Niyet ettim …yapmağa’ (‘I commit myself to do…’) in religious commitments.

Even though trig may be considered trivial at the first glance, it is something used unconsciously in the human nature, a vital instrument in our interaction with the subconscious and our automatic processes… Wrong triggings may include suicides, deadly crimes and may cause unreversable loses and damage even in the social relations as seen in the assassination event at the beginning of the first World War.

Triggers are subsistent and indispensable. Trigger mechanisms are part of our natural beings as well as nature’s. Human mind and brain and also social and economical events, overall the nature of matter sustains trigger’s abundance. As the son of a commando training officer who trained many ‘trig like’ (interalia) brave soldiers and, in the warm memories of what he chose to teach us; my wish from you and advise is; the person who has read this short article till its end can do much more than a simple trigger can and, I believe, you should.

Kind regards.