The chemical arrangement inside each brain tends to be dependent on external stimuli. Cognitive conditioning can strengthen or weaken synaptic bridges when we engage in & repeat the same method of behavior. The human mind is malleable, neuroplasticity allows us to be very adaptable and very stubborn. For the repetition builds its own repeated model of reception. In theory, the information promulgator is deeply embedded and involved in building synaptic pathways. These pathways manifest through psychogenic interactions with the world. Every manifestation of brain activity must go through the intellectual & emotional areas of our mind's electric tapestry.
In this thread I would like to focus on the underlying and more primitive hardware inside our brain, areas controlling our emotional response to external environments. Cognitive neuroscience is slowly beginning to comprehend the emotional factor that sometimes skews our intellectual endeavor. Research suggests that our intellectual life represents a higher cognitive function that has a direct relationship with the emotional centers of our brain. Namely our Limbic system-
The hypothalamus is a small part of the brain located just below the thalamus on both sides of the third ventricle. (The ventricles are areas within the cerebrum that are filled with cerebrospinal fluid, and connect to the fluid in the spine.) It sits just inside the two tracts of the optic nerve, and just above (and intimately connected with) the pituitary gland.
The hypothalamus is one of the busiest parts of the brain, and is mainly concerned with homeostasis. Homeostasis is the process of returning something to some “set point.” It works like a thermostat: When your room gets too cold, the thermostat conveys that information to the furnace and turns it on. As your room warms up and the temperature gets beyond a certain point, it sends a signal that tells the furnace to turn off.
The hypothalamus is responsible for regulating your hunger, thirst, response to pain, levels of pleasure, sexual satisfaction, anger and aggressive behavior, and more. It also regulates the functioning of the autonomic nervous system (see below), which in turn means it regulates things like pulse, blood pressure, breathing, and arousal in response to emotional circumstances.
The hypothalamus receives inputs from a number of sources. From the vagus nerve, it gets information about blood pressure and the distension of the gut (that is, how full your stomach is). From the reticular formation in the brainstem, it gets information about skin temperature. From the optic nerve, it gets information about light and darkness. From unusual neurons lining the ventricles, it gets information about the contents of the cerebrospinal fluid, including toxins that lead to vomiting. And from the other parts of the limbic system and the olfactory (smell) nerves, it gets information that helps regulate eating and sexuality. The hypothalamus also has some receptors of its own, that provide information about ion balance and temperature of the blood.
In one of the more recent discoveries, it seems that there is a protein called leptin which is released by fat cells when we overeat. The hypothalamus apparently senses the levels of leptin in the bloodstream and responds by decreasing appetite. It would seem that some people have a mutation in a gene which produces leptin, and their bodies can’t tell the hypothalamus that they have had enough to eat. However, many overweight people do not have this mutation, so there is still a lot of research to do!
The hypothalamus sends instructions to the rest of the body in two ways. The first is to the autonomic nervous system. This allows the hypothalamus to have ultimate control of things like blood pressure, heartrate, breathing, digestion, sweating, and all the sympathetic and parasympathetic functions.
The other way the hypothalamus controls things is via the pituitary gland. It is neurally and chemically connected to the pituitary, which in turn pumps hormones called releasing factors into the bloodstream. As you know, the pituitary is the so-called “master gland,” and these hormones are vitally important in regulating growth and metabolism.
The hippocampus consists of two “horns” that curve back from the amygdala. It appears to be very important in converting things that are “in your mind” at the moment (in short-term memory) into things that you will remember for the long run (long-term memory). If the hippocampus is damaged, a person cannot build new memories, and lives instead in a strange world where everything they experience just fades away, even while older memories from the time before the damage are untouched! This very unfortunate situation is fairly accurately portrayed in the wonderful movie Memento, as well as in a more light-hearted movie, 50 First Dates. But there is nothing light-hearted about it: Most people who suffer from this kind of brain damage end up institutionalized.
The amygdalas are two almond-shaped masses of neurons on either side of the thalamus at the lower end of the hippocampus. When it is stimulated electrically, animals respond with aggression. And if the amygdala is removed, animals get very tame and no longer respond to things that would have caused rage before. But there is more to it than just anger: When removed, animals also become indifferent to stimuli that would have otherwise have caused fear and even sexual responses.
Think about how media manipulates your emotions... Then consider your neurophysiology when interacting with external mediums of information.
Looking over these different areas of our brain, suggests that almost every intellectual or higher cognitive function is a byproduct of one emotional function. This leads us to the suggestion that developing emotionally attuned skill sets, like empathy, self-awareness, can be equally, if not more important than developing intellectual skills. Sorry Spock, but you don't resemble the human mind at all.
I'd like to point out, that Daniel Goleman brought emotional intelligence out in the open, when he suggested our educational material should address the emotional skill set along with the intellectual skill set.
EQ>IQ? When it comes to developing a civil citizen, emotional awareness may be more important that intellectual astuteness. The history of man as a socially involved animal should encourage research in this field of science.
You may understand, the subliminal pattern recognition that occurs and passes on as an intellectual fruition can be programmed by the environment. The conscious mind over matter procedure will use critical thinking skills relying on the areas of our brain that deal with visible computations, but the subconscious matter over mind procedure will use emotional skills relying on the areas of our brain that deal with reflexive and invisible computations. Whereas to clarify this idea, I am saying that the emotional reflex is hardwired and automatic, and the intellectual reflex is trained and manually exhumed.
My hypothesis- Media as an external environment subconsciously involves us through emotional ploy operating on an instinctual level absorbed through the human sensory system. Anyone can intellectually refute an advertisement, but the underlying assault that stimulates the emotional centers of our brain slips by the well-coordinated defense of enlightened thought. Consider it a loophole, where your eyes are wide shut.
Artificial mediums build behavior models by infiltrating your emotions, the emotions go on to change your intellectual life. Popular pattern psychosis is a form of groupthink, and it has little to do with higher cognitive functions. Emotional information will change the chemical balance of an individual through repeated exposure to emotional models of behavior. Like the intellect, we need to train our emotional centers to defend against the subconscious information field we encounter everyday.
In this established experiment, dubbed the marshmallow test, we can see how early emotional intelligence can indicate future models of behavior.
To study the conditions that promote delay of gratification, the American psychologist Walter Mischel and his colleagues designed an experimental situation (“the marshmallow test”) in which a child is asked to choose between a larger treat, such as two cookies or marshmallows, and a smaller treat, such as one cookie or marshmallow. After stating a preference for the larger treat, the child learns that to obtain that treat, it is necessary to wait for the experimenter to return. The child is also told that if he or she signals the experimenter, the experimenter will return and the child will receive the smaller treat. Thus, the smaller treat is available now, but the larger treat requires waiting. To get the larger treat, the child must resist the temptation to get an immediate treat.
You can teach a child the intellectual concept of impulse control, but their emotional center overrides the intellectual concept.
As civil society evolves, we need to address emotional intelligence and how external mediums export negative behavior models. Consumerism would cease to exist if our education system made emotional intelligence as important as intellectual intelligence. Unfortunately, models of impulse, dissociative acts of commerce, have built the society we live in. Only through repeated and articulated methods of emotional discipline can we develop emotional skills that will make society a better place for our future collective.
Things we need to teach our youth
Stress those three simple things and we may change the world we live in. For years social scientists, behaviorists, psychologists, marketing gurus, have used the knowledge of emotional intelligence to persuade and implement toxic systems of interaction, so they can profit off the human and our untrained reaction to stimuli. I believe it is time to reverse this trend, and give every civilized man and woman the skills that liberate them from tedious insidious methods of propaganda.
Although, I realize there is yet one more problem. We tend to design our machines with the intellectual skill sets needed to assist human populations, but we have yet to emphasize emotional intelligence in our machines. This is a dangerous trend, and I hope, as we map out the human mind, we begin to understand the importance of designing our machines with human-like empathy. If this isn't possible, if machines cannot love, humanity will be destroyed by the mediums we use to translate information. Biological evolution is in our hands.
Feel free to build on my thoughts.
"So much joy I cry, so much pain I laugh."
The ink of the scholar is more sacred than the blood of the martyr.
Remember, you need more than one note to make beautiful music.
Love is the missing link!