• Join 169 other subscribers

Home / Neuroscience / Evolution of the Brain. Part 3. Neuroscience research.

Evolution of the Brain. Part 3. Neuroscience research.

In the past two articles we have talked about the three brain layers and their functions. In this article I would like to continue on the topic and discuss the latest scientific findings on brain and emotional intelligence:

Our emotional brain and its responses have been shaped and preserved over millions of years of evolution. Humanity is “hard-wired” for emotional response!
The facial expressions for basic emotions such as fear, sadness, disgust, anger, and pleasure are identical across cultures, indicating some inborn genetic mechanism common to the human race.

New maps of brain circuitry tell us that the brain is affected by our emotions in two ways:

  • First, signals travel from the first brain to the rational brain and then back to the emotional brain whenever we mull something over for a while and become increasingly angry, determined, or hurt. The “mulling over” allows us to receive more precise data, and this leads to good decision making and more effective actions.
  • The second pathway is the route the signal takes as it travels to the emotional brain before going to the rational brain. This occurs when there is an immediate and powerful recognition of a specific experience as the emotional brain makes an association with some past event; we react strongly to something without really knowing why.
  • Brain layers 2

    The brain seems to have one memory system for ordinary facts and another for emotionally charged events. Emotional events appear to open additional neural pathways that make them stronger in our minds, which may explain why we never forget significant events. We have a rational brain that keeps us from being overpowered by strong emotional reactions, but the emotional brain should not be completely overshadowed by the rational one. The key is balance.

    Our brains are composed of a huge number of neural pathways and connections, making possible many subtleties of emotion and response. Emotions all have a purpose, even anger, grief, and anxiety. Denying these emotions sets up detectable molecular blockages that cause actual changes in cells: this can result in widespread physical and emotional damage over time. The chemical information substances (peptides) flow more freely when we allow ourselves to express emotions such as joy or hope.

    Research in psychoneuroimmunology has shown a direct link between what we think and feel and what is actually going on in our physical bodies. Our emotional and cognitive responses to events in life affect our health and our energy level—essential factors in working up to capacity.
    The term “gut reaction” can be taken literally: our digestive tracts are particularly dense with chemical information molecules and receptors. Chemical activity is triggered by—you guessed it—strong emotions.

    Emily A. Sterrett, Ph.D. (October 10, 2014). The Science Behind Emotional Intelligence [Blog Post]. Retrieved from here
    In text: (Emily A. Sterrett, Ph.D., 2014)

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    %d bloggers like this: