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There are a great many different personal world views, and thus in attempting to understand someone’s personal MOPs, we are usually in a position of guessing, For that reason, we will not spend too much time on personal MOPs, It helps to know, of course, that one of the MOPs that is operating in the story-M-HEALTH PRESERVATION - is operating in the dentist story. But, speculating on why Cyius Vance does what he does may be just too difficult for an understander In a sense, we cannot fully understand somebody until we know what their personal MOPs are. For most people, we never do learn what they are
To sum up: There are three levels at which MOPs can occur: physical, societal, and personal. The apparatus used at each of these levels consists of:
1 meta MOPs that organize MOPs
2 MOPs that organize scenes
3 Scenes (that may have scripts attached to them) that organize memories
These structures are what is used to represent domain-dependent knowledge. However, people have knowledge that is independent of particular domains, Structures to handle that knowledge will be discussed next
What is a TOP?
A great deal of our ability to understand and of our ability to be creative and novel in our understanding is due to our ability to see connections between events and to draw parallels between events. Of course, when the parallels drawn are between one episode of eating in a restaurant and another similar episode, the sense of creativity in understanding is severely limited. But frequently we draw parallels at a higher level. We see how events in one context are like those in a very different context. We recognize that what we have learned to do in one situation applies in another. We draw conclusions about our own behavior, and that of others, from repeated experiences in different surroundings.
In essence, we are dealing with the problem of learning, learning of a fairly specific kind. When a person acts stupidly in one situation and suffers the consequences, we expect him to learn from his experiences. We find it hard to understand why he would repeat the same behavior in a new, but similar circumstance. The kind of learning from experience we expect of people comes from our belief that people can and do recognize similarities in situations. In other words, what we learn about behavior in restaurants may well be applicable to more than just restaurants. Our experiences in dealing with waitresses may affect how we react in a job interview. Not everything that occurs in a restaurant should be classified in terms of restaurants.
We have used that argument in previous chapters as a justification for structures like MOPs. But even MOPs are too specific. As we noted in Chapter 4, we get reminded across situations that have only very little in common on the surface. Thus, there must be structures that capture similarities between situations that occur in different domains. If we know something about an abstract situation apart from any specific context, that information must reside somewhere in memory.
The key to reminding, memory organization and generalization is the ability to create new structures that coordinate or emphasize the abstract significance of a combination of episodes. Structures that represent this abstract, domain-independent, information we call Thematic Organization Points or TOPs. TOPs ate responsible for our ability to:
1. Get reminded of a story that illustrates a point.
2. Come up with adages such as, “A stitch in time saves nine” 01 “Neither
a borrower nor a lender be” at an appropriate point.
3. Recognize an old story in new trappings.
4. Notice co-occurrences of seemingly disparate events and draw conclu-
sions from their co-occunence,
5. Know how something will turn out because the steps leading to it have
been seen before.
6. Learn information from one situation that will apply in another.
7. Predict an outcome for a newly encountered situation
The first problem to be addressed is the nature of a TOP. We have, until this point, seen three TOPs. They were presented in Chapter 4 as illustrations used for Outcome-Driven Reminding. They were:
PG;EI -Possession Goal; Evil Intent MG;00 -Mutual Goal; Outside Opposition AS;UP -Achieve Success; Utilize Power
How do we recognize that a TOP is relevant at any given point? We cannot just create entities ad infinitum, without some belief that these entities can naturally be found in memory at just the right time in processing.
As an example of this consider the concept of imperialism. It makes sense to believe that there must be some high level structure in memory that corresponds to the notion of imperialism. The arguments for this are straightforward. People know things about imperialism. They can recognize from a sequence of actions that imperialism is taking place, They have a set of beliefs about what should be done about imperialism, their attitudes toward it and so on.
However, all of this does not argue that there is a TOP devoted to international imperialism. Imagine a situation in which an executive in a large company decides that the particular employees under his control need more office space. He borrows offices nearby that are part of his company’s set of offices, It is possible that some people in his company but in a different group might resent his intrusion. They might cite previous instances where he borrowed offices that later came under his permanent control. He might be accused of being imperialistic with respect to office space.