Here is my headcannon on fluffy mental processes, please let me know what you think of it!
Fluffies are known to have myriad built-in, or more accurately, pre-programmed memories, thought processes, and mental pathways. Perhaps the most famous of these is the wan die loop, a response to seemingly irreversibly catastrophic failure and collapse of the fluffy’s mental faculties. Apart from some suspected fail-deadly error modes causing the fluffy to simply drop dead, the wan die loop would seem to be the most dramatic of the fluffy mental failure modes, although it is far from the only one.
Generally speaking, it would seem that the effects of stimuli upon the fluffy is strongly correlated to which and how many mental pathways are being activated. Simple conscious thought seems to normally have lower priority, and is thus seem less convincing to the fluffy, than pre-programmed ‘facts’ such as sketties are bestest nummies. Further, pre-programmed facts are again, usually, lower priority than facts learned from humans, with those mental processes having amongst the highest priority, usually only bested by error/error-resolution pathways and safety protocol pathways.
One of the useful properties of fluffies is that they usually freeze in place for a brief moment whenever their brain attempts to edit a neurological entry, shown as, for example, the pause a foal will display before concluding and simultaneously stating aloud that the only good poopies are litter box poopies. This pause is useful for us, as it can indicate the editing of a neurological entry. Furthermore, for individual fluffies, the relative duration of this pause can suggest at the nature of the change, with longer pauses suggesting a larger edit, or an edit to a more fundamental process. Of course this is not the only reason fluffies may pause their actions, with another being the activation of, and extraordinary priority given to, both error/error-resolution and critical safety protocols and their associated mental pathways. For example, upon the error of a leg failing to move as intended, there is a brief pause before the fluffy will simultaneously mentally acknowledge and verbally state ‘weggie nu mowvie’. This is, at least initially, the conclusion of the neurological error/error-resolution process, after which normal fluffy mental activity resumes. Again, we can correlate the relative duration of the pause to the number and importance of error or safety pathways involved.
For example,with regards to the rejection of alicorn foals, and fear of alicorns of all ages, it would seem that the fluffy brain’s pre-programming only has room for one race descriptor for fluffies, with the only valid entries being earthy, pointy, or wingy, so when they try to comprehend a fluffy who is both pointy AND wingy, since ‘pointy-wingy’ is not a valid entry for this data point (nor is ‘alicorn’ for that matter), and since attempting to label it as such produces an error (which the brain considers bad) the fluffy defaults to the standard entry for malevolent unknown entity- Munsta. This is further supported in that an entity with the generic ‘munsta’ label is nominally assumed to want to eat/harm fluffies, which many dams will assume of their newborn alicorns. This suggests that the ‘munsta’ label thus applied arises from a deeper process than simply pre-programmed memory labeling the alicorn as a munsta. The disruption of the far more crucial and fundamental processes that allow for the socialization that fluffies need to survive such as the critical process of recognizing whether another entity is a fluffy or not produces a critical error, eliciting the ‘alicorn is munsta’ reaction, which is far more violent than would normally be expected from even the most explicit and dire of pre-programmed memory-based warnings. Note in particular that the fluffy will often completely stop what they are doing, freezing on the spot sometimes for more than ten seconds, before screaming, flailing legs, falling over, shuttering in place and/or violently shitting. This is the fluffy brain registering the error, attempting resolution, failing to resolve the error, and soft resetting, with the newly appended ‘munsta’ label being the only thing in the fluffy’s mind as it finishes the soft reset. The reaction to this information is further strengthened by the activation of the extremely high priority ‘soft reset’ safety protocol, which the fluffy responds to with great alarm, further intensifying the only thought in its head, munsta. With this dramatic emphasis added to the application of the label munsta to the alicorn, the fluffy becomes absolutely certain that the label is accurate, dramatically increasing the difficulty in convincing the fluffy otherwise. Indeed, so powerful is this effect, that in order to overcome it, the fluffy must create a novel method of mentally labeling all fluffy races, separate from the in-built programming. Once this is done however, upon encountering a different alicorn, the new mental labeling protocol has little difficulty accepting the alicorn as ‘alicorn’ or ‘wingy-pointy’ or whatever the fluffy chose to call the first alicorn they met, resulting in little if any issue whatsoever with further alicorn encounters. This subsequent ease of interaction further supports the suggested error-to-terror sequence of events, as pre-programmed memory-based labeling would not produce so powerful a reaction. Furthermore, if the issue at hand was a simple pre-programmed response, after coming to accept the first alicorn they meet, identical extraordinary effort would be needed for the fluffy to accept each subsequent alicorn encountered which, generally speaking, is not the case.
Further supporting the error to terror chain of events is the observation that fluffy reaction to alicorns seems to scale with the fluffy’s age, because as the fluffy ages, the fluffy race identification pathway is repeatedly used, becoming an ever more fundamental process, and thus while a young foal with mostly unused mental pathways will accept an alicorn as a friendly fluffy with little difficulty, an adult fluffy with deeply ingrained pathways will react with vigor and will have great difficulty accepting even human based insistence that the alicorn is friendly and not a threat. It is also thus easy to conclude that alicorns, themselves, will almost never use the standard identification pathway, as they will have created a novel pathway at an early age in order to be able to describe their own phenotype.
Again, I’d love to hear what you think of this headcannon in the replies!