The Amygdala: Can It Be Manipulated As We Are?

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The Amydala is a feature of our brains that is associated with emotions. It is most known for it's association with fear and how animals and humans deal with fear. The articles presented were both really interesting and covered two different aspects of the amygdala, which I enjoyed. The articles focused on how the brain responds to animals; most specifically, the relation our brain makes between certain animals and how we - or our general instincts - feel about these animals. Of course, it works both ways as animals experience fear as well. But for this blog posts purpose, I'm going to focus on the human aspects. As I read along through the first article I read and got to the part about the rattlesnake, it really hit me that our brain and how it functions is quite remarkable. It only takes a split second of associating a specific animal or object to our feelings about them. In turn, we are able to make fast decisions such as jumping over the rattlesnake or petting the cute dog.

As I was reading both articles, I couldn't help but wonder if the amygdala could be manipulated - or in a sense - changed over time. In my child psychology class, we watched a video about how a child's mind adapts to certain experiences over an extended period of their life (age 1, age 2, age 3, and so on). It also showed how a child's mind adapts when shown certain reactions by adults. I feel as if the concept of fear is somewhat learned as well as it is instinctual. Which leads me to question, how does the amygdala know which experiences are the most fearful for us? Is it based on experience? Or, as the article had mentioned, is it based entirely on evolution and how the brain has dealt with these experiences in the past (i.e. how our ancestors responded to certain animals, objects, environments, etc.)?

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This page contains a single entry by burke471 published on October 9, 2011 8:12 PM.

Apophenia and Grilled Cheesus was the previous entry in this blog.

Embarrassing Situations a Good Thing? is the next entry in this blog.

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