The Power of Throughput

INPUT       ———>               THROUGHPUT          ———>      OUTPUT

(Stimuli)                      (Senses/Perception/Processing)            (Behavior)

It’s been suggested by a reader that one can train a dog without trying to figure out what’s about what’s going on within their mental process, what I call Throughput. That is true to a degree, for example one can wire a house successfully without a good grasp of electrical theory (in fact I wouldn’t want Einstein to wire my house would you?) but let me add that we ignore Throughput at our loss.

In the late 19th century physics endured what was termed the ‘“Ultraviolet Catastrophe.” At the risk of my over simplification in this experiment a steady stream of energy was applied to an idealized black body which had exceptionally uniform qualities. The expectation was that once saturated energy would be emitted in a steady stream just as it had been absorbed. The flow of energy was like a continuous stream In, Through and then Out.


However this didn’t happen. Instead the energy didn’t radiate continuously and with the same frequency as it came in, as it should have if it was a wave as it was presumed to be at the time, but rather in discrete frequencies. Energy would build up inside the black body and nothing would come out until a certain pitch was attained and then it emerged on a higher level of a seeming continuum. Meanwhile the classical physics of electromagnetism as a wave predicted that shorter ultraviolet wavelengths would increase to infinity and this was immediately in violation of classical physics itself and which would mean that a toaster with a heating filament would end up acting like an ultraviolet “nuclear” reactor. It was a total contradiction and hence the catastrophe.


In other words the experiment revealed that there was an organizing structure to the black body revealed by its Output. Output revealed Throughput and in turn Throughput revealed the hidden structure of the Input. They were all of a whole with each shedding light on the makeup of the other. From this experiment the structure of the Atom was deduced with electrons envisioned as occupying valence orbitals; and Einstein deduced the existence of the photon as a discrete package of energy so that light had a particle aspect in addition to its wave feature. Newtonian mechanics was about to be displaced by quantum mechanics. And while we don’t need the latter to wire a house, we sure do need it for computing, cell phones, GPS and all the high technology that is currently enabling the modern information revolution. We ignore Throughput at our peril.

So is there a window into the dog’s mind afforded by Output that provides us a look at Throughput?

An inarguable fact is that moving well (Output) is the most adaptive response to any given situation, either moving well toward something one wants, or moving well away from something one fears. Therefore moving well serves as an animals’ internal metric of well-being, i.e. feeing good (Throughput). Furthermore, an animal’s anatomy, physiology, neurology and cognitive capacities evolved to maintain and/or maximize its sense of well-being. And since moving well is the most adaptive response to any given situation, therefore moving well is the basis for how an animal’s anatomy, physiology, neurology and cognitive capacities evolved to work together. And if Throughput—-and—-Output evolved in service to moving well this means that Input, how external stimuli acts upon the mind is also as a function of resistance to moving well.

In “Design In Nature” Adrian Bejan defines optimal movement as the “Locomotive Rhythm.” It is an organized wave of physical motion that minimizes the various resistances which impede movement. Therefore since the locomotive rhythm is the basis of moving well it is also the basis of an internal metric of well-being. The locomotive rhythm is a universal design criteria for all organisms whether they move over the ground, fly through the air or swim in water.

According to the Constructal law, internal organs are configured in size and placement within the body in terms of the locomotive rhythm as their central “design” criteria. Likewise, since cognition evolved to maximize well-being and well-being is a function of moving well, external objects are configured within the mind also in terms of the locomotive rhythm, specifically, in terms of their resistance to moving well so that these resistance values can be minimized. This is why the physical momentum is transformed into an emotional momentum and then attributed to a stimulus so as to create the motive to convert this force into the locomotive rhythm, into moving well.

Since an animal’s body and mind evolved to maximize its sense of well-being, therefore its actions are always striving to optimize a feeling of well-being and we can deduce that Input——Throughput—- Output—-(perception—processing—performance)—-are functions of efficient movement in service to optimizing a state of well-being. Every stimulus is perceived, processed and responded to relative to this intrinsic metric of well-being. The mental process of objectification, the way sensory data is imported into the brain and goes on to take shape in the mind, is a function of resistance to movement. External inputs are assimilated into their form as objects of resistance (particle) to the locomotive rhythm so that their impedance values can be minimized, or, they can be coupled with so as to generate an amplification of force (wave).

Taking a look into Throughput teaches us that the number one motive of a dog is to be able to project force and receive positive feedback via feeling good by moving well. Now if one doesn’t know this one will presume that tangible consequences, i.e. receiving pleasure or avoiding pain, is the guiding metric for a dog’s behavior and one can pretty well train a dog thinking this way. However sooner or later one is going to run into a contradiction (such as a dog that’s raised with nothing but positive feedback but then as an adult becomes dangerously aggressive) and this can prove catastrophic to our training. We ignore Throughput at our loss and at their peril.




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Published October 20, 2018 by Kevin Behan
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2 responses to “The Power of Throughput”

  1. Russell says:

    It sounds like common coding theory, which looks at the equivalence between perception and action. The classical approach is the linear view of perception-cognition-action, which misses the circular feedback loop between the output and input.

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Books about Natural Dog Training by Kevin Behan

In Your Dog Is Your Mirror, dog trainer Kevin Behan proposes a radical new model for understanding canine behavior: a dog’s behavior and emotion, indeed its very cognition, are driven by our emotion. The dog doesn’t respond to what the owner thinks, says, or does; it responds to what the owner feels. And in this way, dogs can actually put people back in touch with their own emotions. Behan demonstrates that dogs and humans are connected more profoundly than has ever been imagined — by heart — and that this approach to dog cognition can help us understand many of dogs’ most inscrutable behaviors. This groundbreaking, provocative book opens the door to a whole new understanding between species, and perhaps a whole new understanding of ourselves.
  Natural Dog Training is about how dogs see the world and what this means in regards to training. The first part of this book presents a new theory for the social behavior of canines, featuring the drive to hunt, not the pack instincts, as seminal to canine behavior. The second part reinterprets how dogs actually learn. The third section presents exercises and handling techniques to put this theory into practice with a puppy. The final section sets forth a training program with a special emphasis on coming when called.
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