How Do Brains Work?

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Well that is a huge question that I don't expect you to answer here but check out this video where Steven Colbert challenges Steven Pinker to explain how the brain works in 5 words or less.

For this blog entry you might want to comment on a very key part of your brain that influences a great deal of your behavior: the amygdala.


Notice how it is directly connected to the hippocampus who's main function deals with memory. In addition researchers have mapped some of the connections the amygdala has with other parts of the brain. Amygdala connections.jpg

From this image you can clearly see that the amygdala is well positioned to widely influence brain function. Much like the hub of a bicycle wheel.

For this writing assignment check out these two articles for ideas about the function of the amygdala. Summarize what you learned from these readings and then describe how this new knowledge might apply to your own life.hs-amygdala.jpg

Humans, Like Animals, Behave Fearlessly Without the Amygdala.docx

Human Brain Responds To Animals, Cute Or Creepy - NPR".pdf


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I can comment on this post! Since the first time I saw Star Wars, I have referred to the character of Queen Amygdala rather than Amidala. What a difference a little "g" makes!

The article was an interesting read I’ve always understood the concept of the “fight or flight” response, but never knew the actual scientific name for it. When I was reading through the article I couldn’t help but think of instances where the Amygdala might have been taking a day off? I can’t count how many times; I’ve have seen people (let’s say) feeding Geese and out of the clear blue the mother Goose attacks them. This is a prime example of the Amygdala taking a day off. It points back to the idea that the article mentions “The Amygdala seems to be specialized in alerting us to things that are emotionally important to us — either positive or because they're scary” The person feeding the bird does not see the Goose emotionally important (or in a “scary” way) so they stand closer to the bird than they should, and get attacked. Another good example (referring back to the article), it was summarizing the fact that evolutionally speaking, humans do not have a pre-set negative Amygdala response to bridges, buildings, structures, and the like. This brings me to the idea, that maybe this is the reason why some people are accident prone. I wonder is this the reason why we stub our toes, bump our heads, trip over cracks in the sidewalk, walk into street poles, etc.;? Because we do not see some physical structures as threats or was it that our Amygdala took a day off? I’m not sure anyway, but overall it was an interesting article that gave me something to think about. Thanks

Very interesting watching the Colbert Report and then reading the Amygdala article. Colbert's guest Pickner(?) describes brain function as repeated messaging patterns stating that the patterns are repeated and remembered and thats how we think/function. Then reading the amygdala article where the absence of one lead to the lady walking through the park, getting mugged and then walking through the same park again as if her brain could not make any sort of pattern/memory here. I understand the absence of the amygdala is attributed to her lack of pattern but she was obviously still functioning - walking talking making decisions (if not rational ones) etc so some of her pattern making must still be intact. It would be interesting to know which parts of her brain still had the capability to create/remember these 'patterns'. It would also be interesting if there was more than one case study of amygdala-less-ness people.

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This page contains a single entry by wlas0006 published on September 15, 2011 2:50 PM.

Facial Feedback Hypothesis was the previous entry in this blog.

Scientists solve another important question... is the next entry in this blog.

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