Looking for a word for an uncontrollable response...

-K2-

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 19, 2018
Messages
2,078
Initially, I was using the word "habit," but I don't feel that's correct. The word I'm looking for, applied to a person, pertains to a reflexive manner of thinking based on the following conditions:
* The person has been conditioned to think in this way (environmental factors, situation, repetition, etc.).
* The individual for years, had no other option but to think in such a narrow framework. So, now cannot help themselves.
* The person is ignorant to different ways of thinking. IOW, as an example (but not the situation), they call every color 'black' because they know no other words for any other color (so, 'black' has become their word for any/all colors).

'Habit,' doesn't feel right. On the same token, it's not 'instinctual,' having been learned. It is 'reflexive,' but, I'm looking for a word that's more powerful. 'Deeply ingrained,' doesn't work, compulsive-- ehh... etc..

The phrase (saving you from enduring the preceeding balance) reads like this: For Kae, remembering in exacting detail had become ___________.

Thanks for your help!

K2
 
I would actually have used "instinctive" or "it had become an instinct". I suppose there's "knee-jerk reaction", but that tends to have a negative connotation.
 
My first thought was "instinctive", like Toby. You also have conditioned, embedded, intrinsic. I wouldn't have dismissed ingrained, personally. After a perusal of Roget's, there doesn't seem to be the "perfect" word.
 
'Ingrained' would be the first word that I'd go to.
 
Last edited:
Second nature?
Unthinking?
Innate?
Deep-rooted?
Deep-seated?
Inveterate? (Though that's not so good in your proposed sentence as the final word, and it's best just before a noun eg "an inveterate gambler")
 
Thanks everyone for helping, but, I'm not sure I'm seeing it yet (perhaps my own narrow mindedness :unsure: ). Here's how the responses 'strike me,' right or wrong regardless.
Pavlovian? Everybody knows what it means
To me, the word reads a little too much as though 'intentionally' trained.
I would actually have used "instinctive" or "it had become an instinct". I suppose there's "knee-jerk reaction", but that tends to have a negative connotation.
Instinctive, again, feels more like it is her 'born with, nature.' Knee-jerk, not as repetitive and deeply ingrained.
Indoctrinated? Inculcated?
Indoctrinated, feels too intentional (more so, by another). Inculcated, that I need to look up... Ah, hmm, again, too intentional by another.
Reflex (ive)
That may be what I'm stuck with, but, I was hoping for something more powerful, perhaps, darker.
My first thought was "instinctive", like Toby. You also have conditioned, embedded, intrinsic. I wouldn't have dismissed ingrained, personally. After a perusal of Roget's, there doesn't seem to be the "perfect" word.
Ingrained is good and accurate (partially), but it's not coming off as a singular word which also denotes despair, unfortunate, etc..

Thanks everyone else as well, yet that last response added another factor i meant to convey... That being, this is a bad, unpleasant, unfortunate result. One most of us would not be happy with.

This is an actual condition (or used to be) with a real person. For many years they were cut off from typical society and the outside world, at first by others, then eventually due to their own 'confusion' when encountering it. IOW, imagine growing up in a single room, with no outside influences (TV, radio, books, discussions with other people) except for the extremely shallow (and unpleasent) interactions with a select few. The result was, this person's entire knowledge base was their own personal, direct experiences.

So, when their mind was idle or they had time, they did not... could not, imagine, fantasize or create having an extremely limited knowledge base. Instead, they would simply rehash each event from their life from beginning to end... over and over. Besides setting their memories in stone, the side result was they have a (not the right term but close), photographic memory.

Now exposed to other things, they are able to imagine and build ideas, fantasize... but, when stressed, reflex dictates they once more rehash their entire life from start to finish, instead of 'creatively thinking.'

So, you can see why I'm wanting this word to have some impact. Although, it's very likely, just one word doesn't imply the depth of it.

Thank you all so much for helping!

K2
 
ngrained is good and accurate (partially), but it's not coming off as a singular word which also denotes despair, unfortunate, etc..

"Programmed" might have more of a negative tone. Or something like "inescapable"?
 
Question - how would POV affect this sentence/set-up? If this is close third, would Kae actually think of himself/herself: For Kae, remembering in exacting detail had become ___________. ? This seems more like an Omniscient statement, but either way it might feel a bit telly, not showy. Does anyone see what I'm getting at?

If there's a more showy way of getting this over, then a single word wouldn't be what's needed, but rather a way of showing how Kae's remembering things in exacting detail affects her/him. That's just my impression from reading the sample sentence. Apologies if this is unhelpful, or too far off the OP's intent for the thread. CC

hmmm - maybe close third isn't right, but I'm not an experienced writer; hopefully my post still makes some sense. :)
 
"Programmed" might have more of a negative tone. Or something like "inescapable"?
Inescapable is definitely getting there, I'll think on it ;)

Question - how would POV affect this sentence/set-up? If this is close third, would Kae actually think of himself/herself: For Kae, remembering in exacting detail had become ___________. ? This seems more like an Omniscient statement, but either way it might feel a bit telly, not showy. Does anyone see what I'm getting at?

If there's a more showy way of getting this over, then a single word wouldn't be what's needed, but rather a way of showing how Kae's remembering things in exacting detail affects her/him. That's just my impression from reading the sample sentence. Apologies if this is unhelpful, or too far off the OP's intent for the thread. CC

hmmm - maybe close third isn't right, but I'm not an experienced writer; hopefully my post still makes some sense. :)

Well, in this chapter, intentionally, the lead in is pure narration, perhaps even a bit beyond omni. So, it is absolutely 'telly vs. showy.' However, I want it that way. Throughout the manuscript the 'show' part is demonstrated repetitively, but, to keep the protagonist's unrelated background out of the picture (which is relevant because it formed her, yet too much description detracts from the story), I have a very brief lead-in which explains why she is having this dream the way she is (blunt memories)... But, more importantly, it doesn't make her later come off as some naturally intuitive, miraculously adapting, super-hero. Quite the contrary... as I mention in those couple of lead in paragraphs:

...In Kae’s case, like some cruel joke, the brutality and suffering of today, always seemed to prepare her for tomorrow’s atrocities.

Now that the world had changed, Rokka-Kae thrived...


The way she thinks (remembering/rehashing vs. creatively thinking), has allowed her to retain her memory vs. the masses having their memories erased. So, though a curse, now it is a blessing and explains why the situation doesn't affect her like most others.

K2
 
Innate

As has already been suggested by The Judge

However, I suspect this isn't really the right word, but the third definition here Definition of innate | Dictionary.com seems to come close. If nothing else it might lead somewhere.

"originating in or arising from the intellect or the constitution of the mind, rather than learned through experience"
 
What about nescient?

Edit: doesn't fit the sentence or suggest behaviour ingrained by nature... Umm... as suggested, maybe second nature... instinctual... visceral???

Nah, you've already been around this loop.

G'night all...
 
Last edited:
Thanks everyone for your assistance! After all your suggestions following my intense searches, I'm about of the opinion that there may NOT be a single word that states what I'm looking for. IF there is, then it might be so obscure and odd sounding, that it would do more harm than good in trying to convey the meaning.

Thanks again everyone for your help!

K2
 

Similar threads


Back
Top