The emotional Brain has first dibs on incoming information



From The Body Keeps the Score:

The emotional brain has first dibs on interpreting incoming information.

Sensory Information about the environment and body state received by the eyes, ears, touch, kinesthetic sense, etc., converges on the thalamus, where it is processed, and then passed on to the amygdala to interpret its emotional significance.

This occurs with lightning speed.

If a threat is detected the amygdala sends messages to the hypothalamus to secrete stress hormones to defend against that threat.

The neuroscientist Joseph LeDoux calls this “the low road.

The second neural pathway, the high road, runs from the thalamus, via the hippocampus and anterior cingulate, to the prefrontal cortex, the rational brain, for a conscious and much more refined interpretation.

This takes several microseconds longer.

If the interpretation of threat by the amygdala is too intense, and/or the filtering system from the higher areas of the brain are too weak, as often happens in PTSD, people lose control over automatic emergency responses, like prolonged startle or aggressive outbursts.



2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by rudid96 on July 13, 2020 at 4:54 pm

    I’ve learned quite a bit from these daily blog posts. They’ve had a positive impact. One of the things I’ve yet to alter is my startle reflex. It’s dis-regulating and embarrassing. I’m also sensitive to loud sounds. Motorcycles, trees being cut, etc. It all jumbles my nervous system.

  2. One way is to be aware of these body sensations

    When they happen

    Can you think of them as a opportunity to learn more about them

    Do they do damage

    Does your thoughts around them impact their intensity

    Can you sit still focused just feeling these sensations
    Mac you take your breath into the middle of them

    Can you resist trying to run or deny or try to change

    We do nothing but observe

    Know everything about this

    Explore why it is embarrassing

    I had to learn it is a body mechanism

    By itself it is not humiliating

    We add that because we can not control it

    You can make this calm Rudid

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: