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What Part Of The Brain Controls Fear

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What Part Of The Brain Controls Fear

Your reptilian brain, explained | Robert Sapolsky | Big Think

From a biological standpoint, fear is a very important emotion. It helps you respond appropriately to threatening situations that could harm you.

This response is generated by stimulation of the amygdala, followed by the hypothalamus. This is why some people with brain damage affecting their amygdala dont always respond appropriately to dangerous scenarios.

When the amygdala stimulates the hypothalamus, it initiates the fight-or-flight response. The hypothalamus sends signals to the adrenal glands to produce hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol.

As these hormones enter the bloodstream, you might notice some physical changes, such as an increase in:

  • heart rate
  • blood sugar
  • perspiration

In addition to initiating the fight-or-flight response, the amygdala also plays a role in fear learning. This refers to the process by which you develop an association between certain situations and feelings of fear.

What Part Of The Brain Controls Love

It might sound odd, yet the beginnings of sentimental love are related to the pressure reaction set off by your hypothalamus. It bodes well when you consider the anxious fervor or nervousness you feel while succumbing to somebody.

As these emotions develop, the hypothalamus triggers the arrival of different hormones, for example, dopamine, oxytocin, and vasopressin.

Dopamine is related to your bodys reward system. This assists you with cherishing an attractive inclination.

A small investigation showed members an image of somebody they were impractically enamored with. At that point, they showed them a photograph of a colleague. While demonstrating an image of somebody they adored, the members had expanded action in parts of the cerebrum that are rich in dopamine.

Oxytocin is regularly alluded to as the love hormone. This is generally because it increments when you embrace somebody or have a breakup. Its delivered in the hypothalamus and delivered through your pituitary organ. Its also related to social holding. This is significant for trust and building a relationship. It can likewise advance a sentiment of joy and satisfaction.

Vasopressin is also created in your hypothalamus and delivered by your pituitary organ. Its additionally associated with social holding with an accomplice.

Other Brain Areas Involved In Fear Stress And Anxiety

The medial prefrontal cortex

The medial prefrontal cortex is a part of the prefrontal cortex involved in processing information about ourselves and other people. Studies of PTSD patients find less MPFC activation overall in this group compared to healthy controls. However, people with PTSD have more MPFC activation than controls in response to fearful faces. Similar effects are found in people with social anxietyless activation to threat and more activation to social tasks. Low activation in response to threat can be thought of as a deficit in emotion regulation while high activation may be an attempt to overcompensate for excessive fear responding in the lower brain regions, although more research is needed to clarify this.

Other studies have looked at the degree of connectivity between the MPFC and the amygdala in people with anxiety and stress disorders versus healthy controls. These studies have found less connectivity between the amygdala and MPFC in people with PTSD and social anxiety disorder. This suggests that the MPFC is less able to regulate anxious responding in these conditions.

The insula

The anterior cingulate cortex

The anterior cingulate cortex is situated between the neocortex and the emotional areas of the brain . Its functions are complex but seem to include monitoring the outcomes of situations and socially-driven interactions.

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The Brain Has A Traffic Light That Controls Impulses

Dominating others is childs play, but mastering the mysterious forces of ones own heart is the work of the titans. The German Dominican priest Urban Plotzke warned. Why do some people manage to control and suppress their impulses better than others? What makes some titans capable of it? The answer, as almost always, must be sought in the brain and not in the heart.

Apparently the titans work better the brain semaphore, according to an article that has just been published in Current Biology. This traffic light is located in the prefrontal cortex, the one that allows us to have two fingers in front and count to ten so as not to react explosively.

The discovery of this peculiar traffic light has been carried out in rodents. But it is likely that a vital behavior throughout evolution, such as controlling impulses or not, is also conserved in our species. Although we can qualify it in a much more refined way than rodents.

Whether the brain responds to an external stimulus or not depends largely on the balance between the zones of excitement and the inhibition of the prefrontal cortex .

And it is the synaptic connections in the front part of the cerebral cortex that allow the brain to make a conscious decision about whether to react to a stimulus with movement or not, the authors explain. That is something that was already known.

This study, the researchers say, may be of particular importance for studying impulse control disorders.

How We Know What We Know About The Brain

Wwwfacebookcomthemedicalfactsdotcom Dala Amygdala Is the Part of the ...

In the middle of the twentieth century, two things happened almost simultaneously that forever changed our understanding of the brain. One of those is the tragic accident of Phineas Gage.

Gage worked on a railroad when an 1848 accident sent a metal implement through his left cheek and out the top of his head – right through his brain. Had this been the end of the story, history would’ve forgotten Mr. Gage. However, Gage lived for several years after the accident. Following the accident, Gage’s doctor realized that he had changed. He had a short temper and seemed unable to tell right from wrong where before he had been a kind and upstanding citizen. Gage’s accident – and his remarkable survival – suggested for the first time that different parts of the brain have different functions.

Eleven years later and across the Atlantic, Charles Darwin published his book “On the Origin of Species.” The now famous work utilized years of research on Darwin’s part to cement what is now known as the theory of evolution. Before Darwin’s theory that humans evolved from less sophisticated animals, most people accepted that humans had always existed as they do now. While this didn’t prevent an understanding of how the human body works, Darwin’s theory did give us new and interesting questions about where we came from. This eventually leads to the school of psychology called Evolutionary Psychology.

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Children Are Not Ready For Self

We are trying to understand exactly how inhibition manifests itself, especially considering that many mental illnesses, such as mood disorders, typically occur in adulthood explains Dr. Gross indeed, a fascinating aspect of it concerns the maturation of the prefrontal cortex, which occurs in adolescence children, therefore, do not effectively inhibit their instincts and do not have this type of control .

We should keep this in mind when we demand from children behaviors that they are probably not capable of enduring.

The Structure Of The Brain

Before we talk about what part of the brain controls anger, it makes sense to talk about the different parts of the brain. Experts on the brain have divided it up into all kinds of different regions, but we’ll keep things simple for now.

When you think of the brain, you probably think of the top part, called the cerebrum – or more specifically the cerebral cortex. This is the rough-looking ball of grey matter that makes up the largest portion of the brain. This is the part of the brain that does things like interpret senses, initiate motion, process language, and make decisions.

Below and to the back of the cerebrum is the cerebellum. This much smaller and darker mass is primarily responsible for things like balance.

In front of the cerebellum but still under the cerebrum is what’s called the brain stem. The brain stem has the important structural job of connecting the brain to the spinal cord which in turn branches into the nerves that communicate between the brain and rest of your body. However, it is also responsible for many of your most basic bodily functions.

Just above the brainstem inside of the cerebrum are more intricate structures including the amygdala. Centrally located in the brain, the Amygdala is in the perfect position to interpret stimuli and then communicate it directly to your bodily functions. So, the most primal emotions – the ones that impact things like your breath and heart rate – are all controlled by the amygdala. That includes anger.

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What Happens In The Body

People often refer to the physiological changes that occur when a person experiences fear as the fight-or-flight response. Overall, as the name suggests, the changes prepare the animal to either fight or run.

Breathing rate increases, heart rate follows suit, peripheral blood vessels in the skin, for instance constrict, central blood vessels around vital organs dilate to flood them with oxygen and nutrients, and muscles are pumped with blood, ready to react.

Muscles including those at the base of each hair also become tighter, causing piloerection, which is colloquially called goosebumps. When a humans hair stands on end, it makes little difference to their appearance, but for more hirsute animals, it makes them seem larger and more formidable.

Metabolically, levels of glucose in the blood spike, providing a ready store of energy if the need for action arises. Similarly, levels of calcium and white blood cells in the bloodstream see an increase.

The fight-or-flight response begins in the amygdala, which is an almond-shaped bundle of neurons that forms part of the limbic system. It plays an important role in the processing of emotions, including fear.

The amygdala is where the nervous system meets the endocrine, or hormone, system.

The pituitary gland then secretes adrenocorticotropic hormone into the blood.

hormones, including epinephrine and norepinephrine, prepare muscles for violent action.

These hormones can also:

Delicate Balance In The Brain Controls Fear

Rewiring the Anxious Brain Part 2: 10 Skills to Beat Anxiety: Anxiety Skills #22
California Institute of Technology
Scientists have taken an important step toward understanding the neural circuitry of fear. They describe a microcircuit in the amygdala that controls, or “gates,” the outflow of fear from that region of the brain.

The eerie music in the movie theater swells the roller coaster crests and begins its descent something goes bump in the night. Suddenly, you’re scared: your heart thumps, your stomach clenches, your throat tightens, your muscles freeze you in place. But fear doesn’t come from your heart, your stomach, your throat, or your muscles. Fear begins in your brain, and it is there — specifically in an almond-shaped structure called the amygdala — that it is controlled, processed, and let out of the gate to kick off the rest of the fear response.

In this week’s issue of the journal Nature, a research team led by scientists at the California Institute of Technology has taken an important step toward understanding just how this kickoff occurs by beginning to dissect the neural circuitry of fear. In their paper, these scientists — led by David J. Anderson, the Benzer Professor of Biology at Caltech and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator — describe a microcircuit in the amygdala that controls, or “gates,” the outflow of fear from that region of the brain.

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Why Does The Brain Control Fear

The brain is the control center of the body. Without it, we wouldnt be able to do anything. The brain controls everything that we do. It tells our heart to beat, our lungs to breathe and our stomach to digest food. It even controls our ability to move, feel emotion and think. Everything we do relies on how the brain reacts to things.

Fear is no different from any of those automatic bodily functions. Its part of the nervous system which is controlled by the brain.

The fear response arises when we witness something that puts our lives at risk . This response is necessary for survival because it prepares the body to defend itself.

The amygdala causes this response by releasing hormones into the bloodstream. One of these hormones is cortisol.

It increases your heart rate to allow more blood flow to muscles. It also increases your blood sugar to provide more energy. Another hormone, adrenaline , causes your heart rate and breathing to increase. It also makes your blood pressure rise. These changes cause more blood to flow to your muscles preparing you to run.

These hormones also affect the following:

Pupils They enlarge so that you can see more clearly.

Stomach It slows down to provide a steady supply of energy.

Longer-term changes:

If these changes dont happen quickly enough, you may experience the following:



High blood pressure

These are all the effects of fear on the body. Theyre all automatic and require no conscious thought.

Disorders Involving The Amygdala

There are several neurological disorders associated with damage to the amygdala. One, as discussed above, is Kluver-Bucy syndrome. Kluver-Bucy syndrome is rare in humans, but can occur after brain trauma, neurodegenerative disease, or an infection that reaches the brain. The symptoms vary from case to case, but might include placidity, an irresistible urge to put various objects in the mouth , and an uncontrollable appetite.

Urbach-Wiethe disease is a rare genetic disorder that can cause calcification of brain tissue in the temporal lobes this calcification can cause damage to the amygdalae. While Urbach-Wiethe disease is an exceedingly rare condition, it is thought to be the cause of amygdala damage in one of the best-known medical cases alive today: SM. SM, who is only known by her initials to protect her anonymity, has a well-documented inability to experience fear. Over the past several decades, researchers have put SM into a variety of experimental conditions designed to elicit fear. Only oneforcing her to breathe air that was about 35% carbon dioxide led to a fearful reaction from SM. SM has Urbach-Wiethe disease, and it has caused severe damage to her amygdalae. Because of her inability to experience most types of fear coupled with her amygdala damage, SM is commonly used as an demonstration of the important role the amygdala plays in fear.

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Sadness In The Human Being

Sadness and depression bring with them illnesses and disorders, such as the alteration of the processing of emotions, causing neutral facts to be mentally interpreted as negative.

Likewise, the brain consumes a greater amount of glucose and oxygen, producing states of physical exhaustion. In addition, the number of receptors that perceive the sweet taste is reduced, creating the need to consume products that satisfy it.

Experts say that to get out of states of sadness and depression requires self determination. To help this, they recommend improving the diet with healthy products, doing sports to stimulate the generation of endorphins -the so-called happiness hormone-, doing social activities and sharing with loved ones.

Where Does Anxiety Come From


When treating any form of anxiety disorder, it is important to determine where the anxiety is stemming from or what imbalances in the brain or body are fueling the anxiety. There are many risk factors when it comes to the odds of developing an anxiety disorder. These include:

  • Genetics
  • Learned behavior.

It is in our opinion to approach anxiety from a top down approach. Whether anxiety is caused from environmental factors, a functional neurological deficit, or a neurochemical imbalance, addressing anxiety from a neurological standpoint has been proven to be very beneficial. This may be done by assessing electrical activity within the cortex of the brain or assessing deeper structures that may be involved.

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Visual And Auditory Stimuli

Initially, the visual stimuli is first received by the visual thalamus and relayed to the amygdala for potential danger. The visual thalamus also relays the information to the visual cortex and is processed to see if the stimuli poses a potential threat. If so, this information is relayed to the amygdala and the muscle contraction, increased heart rate and blood pressure begins, thus activating the sympathetic neuronal pathway. A presentation of a neutral visual stimuli has been shown to intensify the percept of fear or suspense induced by a different channel of information, such as audition. From Le Doux’s research, it shows that sound stimuli are not directly relayed from the auditory thalamus to the central nucleus.

What Part Of The Brain Controls Anger

Much like fear, anger is a response to threats or stressors in your environment. When youre in a situation that seems dangerous and you cant escape, youll likely respond with anger or aggression. You can think of the anger response and the fight as part of the fight-or-flight response.

Frustration, such as facing roadblocks while trying to achieve a goal, can also trigger the anger response.

Anger starts with the amygdala stimulating the hypothalamus, much like in the fear response. In addition, parts of the prefrontal cortex may also play a role in anger. People with damage to this area often have trouble controlling their emotions, especially anger and aggression.

Parts of the prefrontal cortex of the brain may also contribute to the regulation of an anger response. People with damage to this area of the brain sometimes

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Depression Reduces White Matter In The Brain

A group of researchers from the University of Edinburgh, in the United Kingdom, conducted a study that was later published in Scientific Reports. The experts concluded that the white matter of the brain decreases in people who have depression.

The scientists used a group of 3,461 adults as their basis. Some of them had symptoms of depression, others had been diagnosed with that disease and some more had a stable mood. They all had MRI scans.

The results showed that people who were depressed, or with symptoms of depression, had less white matter in the brain. This is in charge of coordinating communication between the different systems of the human body and between the different areas of the brain.

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