Taming Our Brains AmygdalaIn The Emotional Brain, Joseph LeDoux, a professor of neuroscience at New York University, explains the “fear system” in laboratory animals — such as monkeys — and humans.

The almond-shaped clump of tissue called the amygdala can be a real troublemaker. Whenever you sense potential danger (26 voice-mails on your cell phone coming to life like the Nutcracker), the amygdala triggers an “oh, crap!” reaction, pumping adrenaline and other (not so great) hormones into your bloodstream.

A fraction of a second later, the higher, more educated, evolved, sophisticated (Harvard professor type) region of the brain gets the signal and takes on the case, digging for the truth, sometimes accusing the amygdala of being an over-reactive alarmist. Unfortunately we experience fear more vividly than we do a rational response, and can sometimes make decisions based on the immature brat of our amygdala.

The trick is teaching the amygdala to chill out while you get the real story from the upper regions of the brain, where you’ll get a more thoughtful, considerate analysis.

In other words, try not to act like a monkey.

 


Comments


View Comments / Leave a Comment

This post currently has 4 comments.
You can read the comments or leave your own thoughts.

Trackbacks

No trackbacks yet to this post.


    Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 30 Apr 2011
    Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.

APA Reference
Borchard, T. (2011). Taming Our Brain’s Amygdala. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 19, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2011/04/30/taming-our-brains-amygdala/

 

Recent Comments
  • Ray: One of the most simple and many uses for tool app I know off: Life Charge. You simply add a postive or negative...
  • shalindria: I love spending dream time with my dearly departed relatives. I got closure through my dreams about my...
  • browneyes: I feel I really need the truth out of him. I feel I deserve so much more! He has a problem, I know that....
  • Ainsley: I haven’t found an SSRI yet that works for me, and I’ve been on a bunch of them and a bunch of...
  • Jasmine Fricks: This article reports research from a famine in China over 40 years ago. According to the research, if...
Subscribe to Our Weekly Newsletter


Find a Therapist
Enter ZIP or postal code