Chapter 1 Understanding human behavior

If you are reading this book, chances are you’re already well aware of some of the many reasons to want to change human behavior.

(Obesity, substance use, exercise, etc etc, references, burden of disease, prevention, money, etc etc)

We define human behavior here as sequences of human muscle movement. Such motor activity originates in the motor cortex, and the firing patterns of motor neurons are determined by firing patterns of other neurons. Any change in human behavior, therefore, requires changing the firing patterns of these neurons that together make up the human brain. The human brain consists of roughly 90 billion of such neurons, and each is connected to on average 7000 other neurons. Directly targeting a subset of such neurons and connections is not feasible. However, these firing patterns can be targeted in a different way.

1.1 Psychology

1.2 Pragmatic nihilism

A bit of psychology represented using the 'spreading activation metaphor'.

Figure 1.1: A bit of psychology represented using the ‘spreading activation metaphor.’