THE LAW OF STRENGTH OF THE NERVOUS SYSTEM

If I tap my patellar tendon just below the kneecap when my leg is flexed at the knee, the leg will extend. This is the knee-jerk reflex. If I tap it harder, the reflex is more brisk and the response is stronger. Within limits, there is a simple law operating in the nervous system with regard to reflexes that a weak input stimulus will produce a weak response, and a stronger input stimulus will produce a stronger response.
Not only does this law of strength hold true for the reflexes in my body which are automatic and which I did not have to learn, but it also holds true for reflexes which I have learned during my life experiences.
We have all experienced how learned skills become automatic after a while, as we become conditioned to respond in this way. Take driving a car, or riding a motorcycle, for example. The clutch- gearshift co-ordination movements become so automatic that we don’t even have to think about them after a while. These reflexes are called conditioned reflexes.
(I once rode an Ariel 500cc motorcycle while I was studying first year medicine in 1962, in Townsville. After I had become reasonably adept at riding this motorcycle, I discovered something strange. Whenever I checked, while riding along, to see which gear the bike was in by touching the gear lever with my foot, the bike slowed down, unexpectedly and for no apparent reason.
I then discovered that I had become so conditioned to cutting back the throttle with my right hand when I depressed the gear lever in changing gear that simply touching the gear lever with my toe was automatically producing the wrist rotation which was causing the inadvertent throttling back. The two actions had been coordinated into a conditioned reflex which did not require me to be conscious of it.)
The law of strength applies to these conditioned reflexes, as well as to the unlearned, built-in reflexes such as the knee-jerk reflex. That is, the conditioned response will be stronger if the input stimulus that triggers it is stronger. However, when the input is too strong, the response will be diminished because of the operation of circuit breaker mechanisms.
*28/129/5*

THE LAW OF STRENGTH OF THE NERVOUS SYSTEM
If I tap my patellar tendon just below the kneecap when my leg is flexed at the knee, the leg will extend. This is the knee-jerk reflex. If I tap it harder, the reflex is more brisk and the response is stronger. Within limits, there is a simple law operating in the nervous system with regard to reflexes that a weak input stimulus will produce a weak response, and a stronger input stimulus will produce a stronger response.Not only does this law of strength hold true for the reflexes in my body which are automatic and which I did not have to learn, but it also holds true for reflexes which I have learned during my life experiences.We have all experienced how learned skills become automatic after a while, as we become conditioned to respond in this way. Take driving a car, or riding a motorcycle, for example. The clutch- gearshift co-ordination movements become so automatic that we don’t even have to think about them after a while. These reflexes are called conditioned reflexes.(I once rode an Ariel 500cc motorcycle while I was studying first year medicine in 1962, in Townsville. After I had become reasonably adept at riding this motorcycle, I discovered something strange. Whenever I checked, while riding along, to see which gear the bike was in by touching the gear lever with my foot, the bike slowed down, unexpectedly and for no apparent reason.I then discovered that I had become so conditioned to cutting back the throttle with my right hand when I depressed the gear lever in changing gear that simply touching the gear lever with my toe was automatically producing the wrist rotation which was causing the inadvertent throttling back. The two actions had been coordinated into a conditioned reflex which did not require me to be conscious of it.)The law of strength applies to these conditioned reflexes, as well as to the unlearned, built-in reflexes such as the knee-jerk reflex. That is, the conditioned response will be stronger if the input stimulus that triggers it is stronger. However, when the input is too strong, the response will be diminished because of the operation of circuit breaker mechanisms.
*28/129/5*

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