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It seemed appropriate, and indeed important, to include here and there a state of mind which was not unhealthy where this could indicate the mental mechanism towards or away from a pathological state.
A self-protective mental mechanism was at work, a trick of the mind I have trouble explaining but which is constantly operating.
A century ago, Sigmund Freud developed his concept of ego, a mental mechanism for distinguishing one's body and thoughts from those of other people.
One possible explanation is that the eyes unconsciously trigger a basic mental mechanism humans have evolved to be very sensitive to their impression on other people, so they maintain their own reputation.
In Atran's view, scientists need to identify the mental mechanism that allows individuals who accept animistic beliefs to override a universal tendency to categorize plants and animals in highly structured ways (SN: 11/16/96, p.