How Does The Brain Work
The brain sends and receives chemical and electrical signals throughout the body. Different signals control different processes, and your brain interprets each. Some make you feel tired, for example, while others make you feel pain.
Some messages are kept within the brain, while others are relayed through the spine and across the bodys vast network of nerves to distant extremities. To do this, the central nervous system relies on billions of neurons .
How Does The Occipital Lobe Interact With Other Areas Of The Body
No part of the brain is a standalone organ that can function without information from other parts of the body. The occipital lobe is no exception. Although its primary role is to control vision, damage to other brain regions and body parts can inhibit vision. Moreover, some evidence suggests that, when the occipital lobe is damaged, nearby brain regions may be able to compensate for some of its functions. The occipital lobe is heavily dependent on:
- The eyes, particularly the retinas, which take in and process visual information to then be further processed by the occipital lobe.
- The frontal lobe, which contains the brain’s motor cortex. Without motor skills, the eyes cannot move or take in information from surrounding regions.
- The temporal lobe, which helps assign meaning to visual information, in addition to encoding it into memories.
A Person Newly In Love Can React The Same Way A Gambler Feels After A Big Win
Posted October 20, 2015
Being in love and finding that perfect someone, has been compared to winning the lottery. Indeed, a person newly in love can react the same way a gambler feels after a big win. If youre newly in love, you can experience a chemical jolt, akin to a drug hit.
Dr. Arthur Aron, a psychologist at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, says intense passionate love uses the same system of the brain that gets activated when a person becomes addicted to drugs. Arons co-author, Lucy Brown, a at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, continues by saying you can feel happy when you are in love, but also feel . The other person becomes a goal in life, essentially a prize.
So, while love can be like a hit of a drug, both can lead to an . The authors of the study The Behavioral, Anatomical and Pharmacological Parallels between Social , Love and Addiction note that a significant overlap exists between the physiological effects of both love and addiction. One can become addicted to another individual, and these relationships include both romantic relationships and parent-child relationships. The authors coin the term social addiction, another term for relationship dependency.
The Brains Role
The Neuroscience Of Date Night
Lots of relationship experts suggest that couples who have been together through the ages can keep the romance alive with regular date nights. A smashing idea! Neuroscience research shows us that date night can, in fact, help keep a relationship fresh and rewarding, but if and only if you go about it in the right way. The key here is novelty; you and your betrothed must engage in fun, exciting, and new experiences so you can get the dopamine and norepinephrine flowing and reward your brain. Remember, back when you first fell in love, dopamine and norepinephrine were a big factor as well. If youve been following the research of Dr. Michael Merzenich, you know that novelty is one of the key factors in driving brain plasticity. Can you change your brain by hitting the indoor rock climbing wall next date night?
If rock climbing isnt for you, maybe youll appreciate an adjacent body of research from psychologist Richard Slatcher. He studied couples and found that those who hang out with other couples are more likely to have happy and satisfying romantic relationships. It might have something to do with breaking up the routine and introducing novelty from other sources. So maybe you can still go to the same restaurant every week, provided the reservation is for 4, not 2.
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Parts Of The Brain: Structures Anatomy And Functions
The human brain is one of the largest and most complex organs in the body. It controls your emotions, thoughts, speech, memory, creativity, breathes, movement, and stores information from the outside world. This article discusses the different parts of the brain and the function of each structure.
The brain is a 3-pound organ that contains more than 100 billion neurons and many specialized areas. There are 3 main parts of the brain include the cerebrum, cerebellum, and brain stem. The Cerebrum can also be divided into 4 lobes: frontal lobes, parietal lobes, temporal lobes, and occipital lobes. The brain stem consists of three major parts: Midbrain, Pons, and Medulla oblongata. Although each structure has a distinct function, they work together to control all functions of the body.
Posterior Cerebral Artery Syndrome
Posterior cerebral artery syndrome occurs when there is obstruction of the blood flow through the calcarinebranch of the posterior cerebral artery. The calcarine branch supplies the visual cortex in the occipitallobe, the part of the brain necessary for sight.
Ischemic damage to this region can lead to a condition called contralateral homonymous hemianopia , which is the loss of vision in the contralateral visual field. For example, if calcarine branch of the left posterior cerebral artery is occluded, an affected individual will typically experience vision loss in the right visual field of each eye. In cases of temporal lobe ischemia, amnesia may result.
The presence of dual blood supply to parts of the occipital lobe means that certain regions of the visual field may be spared from damage when the posterior cerebral artery is occluded: this typically presents as macular sparing, or sparing of the central visual field.
Love Is Its Own Reward
Meanwhile, attraction seems to be a distinct, though closely related, phenomenon. While we can certainly lust for someone we are attracted to, and vice versa, one can happen without the other. Attraction involves the brain pathways that control reward behavior , which partly explains why the first few weeks or months of a relationship can be so exhilarating and even all-consuming.
Dopamine, produced by the hypothalamus, is a particularly well-publicized player in the brains reward pathway its released when we do things that feel good to us. In this case, these things include spending time with loved ones and having sex. High levels of dopamine and a related hormone, norepinephrine, are released during attraction. These chemicals make us giddy, energetic, and euphoric, even leading to decreased appetite and insomnia which means you actually can be so in love that you cant eat and cant sleep. In fact, norepinephrine, also known as noradrenalin, may sound familiar because it plays a large role in the fight or flight response, which kicks into high gear when were stressed and keeps us alert. Brain scans of people in love have actually shown that the primary reward centers of the brain, including the ventral tegmental area and the caudate nucleus, fire like crazy when people are shown a photo of someone they are intensely attracted to, compared to when they are shown someone they feel neutral towards .
Which Part Of The Brain Controls Love
While love is a favorable emotion to feel, we can all admit that it is accompanied by some pretty unpleasant emotions. Nerves and excitement are both physical responses we feel when we see someone we love. These are triggered by the hypothalamus, which releases a mixture of hormones that are associated with the reward circuit. These produce reactions such as sweaty hands, pink cheeks, a racing heart, as well as feelings of anxiety and passion.
When we are in love, our brain also produces the chemical dopamine. This is what makes love a desirable experience. The other hormones our brain produces when we experience romantic love are oxytocin , which encourages attachment and vasopressin, which is connected with social bonding.
Oxytocin is known as the love hormone as it triggers feelings of security, calmness, and contentment that help us to feel connected with a potential mate.
Emotional processing is a complex field. How our brain deals with emotions is far beyond the scope of this article. The incredibly complicated chemical processes that are occurring in your brain when you experience certain emotions are fascinating.
It can help you to understand why your body reacts in a certain way. As well as how our emotions are trying to protect us. We hope weve whetted your appetite and that this marks the beginning of a fascination with neuroscience!
The Brain Is Flexible: Neuroplasticity
The control of some specific bodily functions, such as movement, vision, and hearing, is performed in specified areas of the cortex, and if these areas are damaged, the individual will likely lose the ability to perform the corresponding function. For instance, if an infant suffers damage to facial recognition areas in the temporal lobe, it is likely that he or she will never be able to recognize faces . On the other hand, the brain is not divided up in an entirely rigid way. The brains neurons have a remarkable capacity to reorganize and extend themselves to carry out particular functions in response to the needs of the organism and to repair damage. As a result, the brain constantly creates new neural communication routes and rewires existing ones. Neuroplasticity refers to the brains ability to change its structure and function in response to experience or damage. Neuroplasticity enables us to learn and remember new things and adjust to new experiences.
Although neurons cannot repair or regenerate themselves as skin or blood vessels can, new evidence suggests that the brain can engage in neurogenesis, the forming of new neurons . These new neurons originate deep in the brain and may then migrate to other brain areas, where they form new connections with other neurons . This leaves open the possibility that someday scientists might be able to rebuild damaged brains by creating drugs that help grow neurons.
Psychology In Everyday Life: Why Are Some People Left
Across cultures and ethnic groups, about 90% of people are mainly right-handed, whereas only 10% are primarily left-handed . This fact is puzzling, in part because the number of left-handers is so low, and in part because other animals, including our closest primate relatives, do not show any type of handedness. The existence of right-handers and left-handers provides an interesting example of the relationship among evolution, biology, and social factors and how the same phenomenon can be understood at different levels of analysis .
At least some handedness is determined by genetics. Ultrasound scans show that nine out of 10 fetuses suck the thumb of their right hand, suggesting that the preference is determined before birth , and the mechanism of transmission has been linked to a gene on the X chromosome . It has also been observed that left-handed people are likely to have fewer children, and this may be in part because the mothers of left-handers are more prone to miscarriages and other prenatal problems .
But culture also plays a role. In the past, left-handed children were forced to write with their right hands in many countries, and this practice continues, particularly in collectivistic cultures, such as India and Japan, where left-handedness is viewed negatively as compared with individualistic societies, such as Canada and the United States. For example, India has about half as many left-handers as the United States .
Lust: The Interolerable Neural Itch
W. H. Auden called the sex drive an intolerable neural itch. Scientists have long regarded that itch as a distinct emotion system that is innate and common to all birds and mammalslodged in the avian and mammalian brain. Moreover, they have long understood at least the basic neuroanatomy and physiology of the libido, agreeing that it is predominantly associated with the androgens in both men and women. The estrogens also play substantial roles in the sex drive in many mammals, but only a secondary role in humans.
The biological relationship between the sex drive and the attraction system has not been well dened in most mammals; but in the small rodents called prairie voles, studies have shown that the two systems regularly interact. When a female prairie vole receives a drop of male urine on her upper lip, the neurotransmitter norepinephrine is released in specic areas of the olfactory bulb in her brain. This helps to stimulate the release of estrogen and contributes to triggering sexual behavior. In the prairie vole, attraction is a brief, spontaneous, chemically induced, excitatory reaction that initiates sexual desire, sexual physiology, and sexual behavior.
Lust and attraction do not always go hand in hand in people. When middle-aged men and women are injected with testosterone, their sex drive increases, but they do not fall in love. Moreover, men and women can express sexual desire toward those for whom they feel no obsessive attraction or deep attachment.
What Goes On In Our Brains When We Are In Love
Romantic love involves a series of complex changes in the brains reward system that make us crave the object of our affection
If you have experienced the evolution from having a crush to falling in love, it may seem like the transition happens naturally. But have you ever wondered how we make such a huge emotional leap? In other words, what changes take place in our brains that allow us to fall deeply in love?
Stephanie Cacioppo, a psychologist at the University of Chicago who has studied the neuroscience of romantic love for the past decade, explains that the process involves several complex changes, particularly in the brains reward system. More specifically, in a 2012 review of the love research literature Lisa Diamond and Janna Dickenson, psychologists at the University of Utah, found romantic love is most consistently associated with activity in two brain regionsthe ventral tegmental area and the caudate nucleus. These areas play an essential role in our reward pathway and regulate the feel good neurotransmitter dopamine. In other words, during the early stages of love you crave the person because he or she makes you feel so good.
And over time these feelings persist. Our neuroimaging research and that of others suggests that once you are in loveas long as the relationship remains satisfyingsimply thinking about your partner not only makes you feel good but can also buffer against pain, stress and other negative feelings.
Research Focus: Identifying The Unique Functions Of The Left And Right Hemispheres Using Split
We have seen that the left hemisphere of the brain primarily senses and controls the motor movements on the right side of the body, and vice versa. This fact provides an interesting way to study brain lateralization the idea that the left and the right hemispheres of the brain are specialized to perform different functions. Gazzaniga, Bogen, and Sperry studied a patient, known as W. J., who had undergone an operation to relieve severe seizures. In this surgery, the region that normally connects the two halves of the brain and supports communication between the hemispheres, known as the corpus callosum, is severed. As a result, the patient essentially becomes a person with two separate brains. Because the left and right hemispheres are separated, each hemisphere develops a mind of its own, with its own sensations, concepts, and motivations .
Although Gazzanigas research demonstrated that the brain is in fact lateralized, such that the two hemispheres specialize in different activities, this does not mean that when people behave in a certain way or perform a certain activity they are only using one hemisphere of their brains at a time. That would be drastically oversimplifying the concept of brain differences. We normally use both hemispheres at the same time, and the difference between the abilities of the two hemispheres is not absolute .
Is The Heart Organ Responsible For Feelings And Emotions
May 20, 2009 at 6:30 pm· Filed under
Almost all of us believe that heart organ is responsible for feeling and emotions. However, many researches prove that the feelings come from the brain only. The limbic cortex is the most important part of the brain that controls our emotions, feelings and physical reactions. Limbic Cortex is therefore referred to as the emotional brain.
The heart organ has been referred to as a source of love and virtue for many centuries. Heart is recognized as the source of intelligence by Hebrew, Christian, Hindu, Chinese and Islamic traditions. However, in the past few decades, we have been taught that the heart is just a ten-ounce muscle pumping blood and maintaining circulation. According to medical science, brain is the main part of the body, which rules all the other organs.
There is new scientific evidence that the heart organ is responsible for feelings and emotions. The heart uses neurological, biochemical and biophysical ways to send emotional and intuitive signals to our brain. The scientists are now discovering that the heart may be the actual intelligent force, which is behind the intuitive thoughts, feelings and emotions experienced by us.
You may notice that some people who experience emotional trauma and psychological stress may develop cardiac arrhythmia. This condition may even lead to sudden death. If someone with heart disease hears any bad news, he/she may indeed die.
Brain Anatomy And Limbic System
The image on the left is a side view of the outside of the brain, showing the major lobes and the brain stem structures .
The image on the right is a side view showing the location of the limbic system inside the brain. The limbic system consists of a number of structures, including the fornix, hippocampus, cingulate gyrus, amygdala, the parahippocampal gyrus, and parts of the thalamus. The hippocampus is one of the first areas affected by Alzheimer’s disease. As the disease progresses, damage extends throughout the lobes.
When Love Is A Many
Ever fallen madly in love? Researcher Helen Fisher has spent her academic life trying to figure out whats going on in the brains of those who are in the heady, butterflies-in-the-stomach throes of passionate romantic love. Fisher has scanned the brains of young paramours and found that when theyre focusing on the object of their affection, a whole host of brain parts start lighting up. One of the two most important regions was initially a little surprising to Dr. Fisher. First, she found that the caudate nucleuspart of the primitive reptilian brainis highly active in these amorous individuals. As expected, she also saw the brain areas associated with dopamine and norepinephrine production light up. Both are brain chemicals associated with pleasurable activities and excitement.
Fisher puts it best when she says, No wonder lovers talk all night or walk till dawn, write extravagant poetry and self-revealing e-mails, cross continents or oceans to hug for just a weekend, change jobs or lifestyles, even die for one another. Drenched in chemicals that bestow focus, stamina and vigor, and driven by the motivating engine of the brain, lovers succumb to a Herculean courting urge.
Three Emotion Systems That Complicate Human Life
I believe that three primary, distinct, but interrelated emotion systems in the brain mediate mating, reproduction, and the rearing of young: lust, attraction, and attachment. Each emotion system is correlated with a specic neurobiology in the brain; each is associated with a different repertoire of behavior; and each evolved to direct a specic aspect of reproduction in birds and mammals.
THE SEX DRIVE is characterized by the craving for sexual gratication and associated primarily with the hormones . The sex drive evolved to motivate individuals to seek sexual union with any appropriate partner.
THE ATTRACTION SYSTEM is characterized by increased energy and the focusing of attention on a preferred mating partner. In humans, attraction is also associated with feelings of exhilaration, intrusive thinking about the beloved, and the craving for emotional union. Attraction, I hypothesize, is associated in the brain primarily with high levels of the neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine and with low levels of serotonin. This emotion system evolved chiey to enable males and females to distinguish among potential mating partners, conserve their mating energy, prefer genetically superior individuals, and pursue these individuals until insemination had been completed.
What Is The Connection Between Desire And Love
Posted June 22, 2012
What is the connection between desire and love? This question has been one that relationship scientists and couples therapists have concerned themselves with for a long time, but the answer has remained elusive.
Recently, researcher Jim Pfaus, professor of psychology at Concordia University, co-authored a study published in the Journal of Medicine that set out to use brain imaging to try to shed some light on the differences and similarities between sexual desire and love.
It turns out that love and desire activate specific but related areas in the brain. The researchers found that two brain structures in particular, the insula and the striatum, are responsible for tracking the progression from sexual desire to love. The insula is a portion of the cerebral cortex folded deep within an area between the temporal lobe and the frontal lobe, while the striatum is located nearby, inside the forebrain.
Love and sexual desire activate different areas of the striatum. The area activated by sexual desire is usually activated by things that are inherently pleasurable, such as sex or food. The area activated by love is involved in the process of conditioning by which things paired with reward or pleasure are given inherent value. That is, as feelings of sexual desire develop into love, they are processed in a different place in the striatum.
Total Eclipse Of The Brain
Think of the last time you ran into someone you find attractive. You may have stammered, your palms may have sweated; you may have said something incredibly asinine and tripped spectacularly while trying to saunter away . And chances are, your heart was thudding in your chest. Its no surprise that, for centuries, people thought love arose from the heart. As it turns out, love is all about the brain which, in turn, makes the rest of your body go haywire.
According to a team of scientists led by Dr. Helen Fisher at Rutgers, romantic love can be broken down into : lust, attraction, and attachment. Each category is characterized by its own set of hormones stemming from the brain .
The Amygdala And The Affective System
Within the limbic system sits the amygdala, which has been shown to control our instantaneous emotional responses. The amygdala is, therefore, likely to represent the brain region in charge of the affective system, which is responsible for many of our judgments, such as discerning between good and bad, safe and threatening, and friend and foe.
One further, important responsibility of the amygdale , is to help us identify facial expressions. We use facial expression information to make the value judgment of friend or foe, and this value judgment is also important to consumer and user behavior, where faces are often used to engender positive feelings. As the amygdala is in charge of our judgmental system, it helps us determine which brands, products and sites we can trust and which ones are threatening or of no use to us.