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Stress

by Glenn Storm on 12/28/09 01:10:00 am

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The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.

 

Previous Post: Efficiency

In the previous post, Efficiency was defined as a pervasive force within the system of Experience. In this post, Stress is introduced as a condition that disrupts Efficiency. Everyone should feel encouraged to join the discussion and comment on or debate the assertions presented. All relevant comments are welcome and appreciated.

Stress affects Experience

In an imperfect world, and particularly in using an imperfect representation of the world to navigate and operate within that imperfect world, there are often inconsistencies encountered in the system of Experience. As a matter of Efficiency, the system of Experience will naturally make attempts to reconcile any contradictions or missing details in the Cognitive Model of the world. This reconciliation effort consumes energy in the form of Attention; where the larger the discrepancy that is found, the larger the amount of Attention that is required to reconcile it to a sufficiently efficient state. Missing details of a discrete Cognitive Model subset that is heavily relied upon, for example, requires a larger reconciliation effort than a minor inconsistency to a concern that we are only casually attending to. Extreme cases requiring such effort would be those situations where reliable aspects of the current Cognitive Model of the world are directly contradicted by reliably attended to elements of Perception. Other extreme cases would be those situations where there are new significant distortions or missing details of a Cognitive Model subset that previously represented a Reliability foundation to many other subsets; particularly those of current concern or those which are more commonly used in our navigation and operation in the world. These conditions of extreme discrepancies between the various Cognitive Model subsets; posing a threat to Reliability, blocking our goal of Understanding and requiring significant reconciliation in the form of Attention as a matter of Efficiency, are what we understand as Stress. Conditions of Stress take a double toll on the system of Experience, in that both a considerable Attention energy cost is paid over time to reconcile those discrepancies, and those other systematic operations that could be performed during that time are neglected. A stressful situation can easily stop short our graceful operations in the world and cause us considerable discomfort, even elicit clear signs of pain, due to this necessary reconciliation effort and the toll it takes on the system of Experience.

Next Post: Motivation and Satisfaction


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