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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria University College, Wellington N.Z. Vol. 21, No. 2. March 27, 1958


"It is not necessary for the psychologist to go outside the universe of organic evolution to explain the position of the mind and how it operates," said Dr Scott.

"The 'mind' is a concept; we use the term 'mental' to designate events or aspects of people's activities. It is in order to use this term 'mental' to characterise them, so long as we don't assume we have explained them by putting them down to the working of 'the mind' as a thing, an entity."

Dealing first with common aspects of behaviour, Dr. Scott said the mammal's response to the environment was very selective. What it would notice and respond to depended on what is relevant. Organised behaviour had a temporal sequence—the organism was thus pre-tuned to perceive certain things and disregard other irrelevant things.

Without this pre-tuning the mammal would be continuously distracted and would bat around in a cycle of unfinished activities. On the other hand if there was too much pre-tuning the organism was not very adaptable; its attention became too narrow and it failed to notice important signals in the environment when the situation changed—it was preoccupied.