Association of Emotion and the Brain

Human emotions have been studied by various researchers from different parts of the world for several years. Hence, until at present, no one would clearly explain why a specific event in life causes a particular feeling. As an example, some people are scared of thunderstorm, while others perceived it as an exciting experience that increases their exuberance. Emotions can be stimulated through assorted types of occurrences. However, physical acknowledgment of human beings during the onset of different types of emotions can be distinguished by means of body language.

A person’s brain and emotion are closely related with one another. Human brain is said to be the most unique kind of brain structure (Glee, 2005, p. 1). Generally, the most complicated body part of any living creature is the brain. Moreover, almost each species has a diverse biological brain structure and appearance.

Human brain slowly transcends from its primitive form to its current life form. In general, scientists believe that human brain has undergone three major stages of transformation (Winn, 2001, p.1736). In this modification process, first comes the reptilian brain which lies in the innermost part. The reptilian brain seems to be the oldest and the most primal part which hasn’t changed even in the presence of evolution. Bodily functions such as body temperature and breathing are the main concern of the reptilian brain. Predominantly, one may observe that survival is the main behavioral manifestation during this stage (Hart, 2008, p. 10).

Mammalian brain comes after the reptilian brain. During this stage of brain evolution, new-fangled bodily functions are added to the hypothalamus part in order to control the body more carefully. Experiences are well then stored as experienced-based memories in the hippocampus region. Early recognition of an alien or strange feeling base on retained memories warn the body about the danger ahead. Amygdala and hippocampal have millions neural channels that connects to the reptilian brain. When this happens, the behavior suddenly controlled the body by exhibiting the so called instincts. Behavioral responses such as to nurture, to battle against or to getaway are among normal demonstration of instinct (Ardagh, 2007, p. 50).

On the other hand, neocortex is the third part of the brain which is responsible for humans to act like one (Siegel, 2001, p. 10). This also differentiate man’s characteristic to an animal. Neocortex, also known as the grey matter, consists mainly the human brain. Massive human brain form consists of right and left hemispheres which are surrounded by an outer layer are connected by millions of nerve fibers. These thick bundles of nerve fibers allow proper communication and interaction between these two brain regions. Ironically, the left hemisphere controls the sensation and movement of the right side of the human body whereas, the right hemisphere do the same to the left side of the body. Left hemisphere is responsible why humans can verbally interact with one another. Hence, the right hemisphere of the brain allows an individual to express and interpret emotions even without spoken words (Siegel, 2001, p. 10).

Even human brain are said to be evolved from primordial up to the contemporary state of human brain and each phase has a distinct characteristic that separates men from animals. The progression of the brain manifests during early childhood or embryonic period to adulthood. The brain is subdivided into regions that complement the functional purpose of the human body. As you read along, this writing will focus on the correlation of the brain and the spectrum of human emotions.

Human Affection and the Brain

            The right hemisphere of the brain is responsible why human beings show affection and care for other people including family members and people in the community. Primitive urges to survive life is deeply concealed by the mammalian characteristic to express affection.

The limbic system which can be found in the brain has the primary function why humans have a variety of moods and reactions. Biologically, the limbic system is located beneath the thalamus and also below the cerebrum. Hippocampus, hypothalamus, amygdala and some other vital parts of the brain are among that profoundly comprises the limbic system (De Beauport and Diaz, 2002, p. 79).

Limbic system is also known as the middle brain which is capable of emotion necessary for human survival (De Beauport and Diaz, 2002, p. 79). Mammals, like humans, gave birth to their offspring to continue with their existence. On the contrary, if there is none who would care for youngsters, then it would be impossible to broaden human population. Human beings are among those mammals that have a larger middle brain and as expected, we are more capable in expressing our feelings through innumerable accomplishments (De Beauport and Diaz, 2002, p. 79).

Affection is a way how an individual convey his or her likeness to another creature. The limbic part of the brain stimulates emotional responding associated in forming social bonds. Affectional relationship of human beings is still a phenomenon. Why this type of expression and experience are evidently seen on mankind is still a big question

Human Aggression: When Human Brain goes Wild

Brutal killings and misbehavior of human beings are linked to the substances release by the brain from time to time. Numerous researches attempted to unveil and divulge the mystery why humans exhibit violent behavior (Hines, 2005, p. 134). Most of them focused mainly on the genetic foundation of human aggression.

Neurotransmitters and a number of hormones, such as serotonin and testosterone, are linked to human aggression. In some instances, a person behaves violently if he or she lacks a genetic material that produces monoamine oxidase-a, or also known as MAOA. Genetic material such as MAOA is an essential enzyme which splits up significant neurotransmitter in the brain. If MAOA fails to break down neurotransmitters that are commonly called as serotonin, then serotonin buildup will takes place and would definitely cause an individual to act aggressively. On the contrary, claims by other studies show that serotonin plays an important role in exerting tranquility among humans during its normal level. Nevertheless, low levels of serotonin triggers human aggression (Boyd, 2007, p. 823).

There may be many impressive results from various researches, but still, there is no specific and sufficient evidence that reveals the biochemical synthesis of human brain. Men are still far from understanding which part of the brain or what type of enzyme really generates an aggressive behavior.  Intricate factors are still vague to consider and the following ideas generated by numerous studies are nonetheless contradicting.

Relationship of the Brain with Maternal Behavior and Play

            Like human aggression, maternal behavior of human beings is often linked with the brain’s neurotransmitter. A documentary and study using genetically altered mice takes place and the study caters the impression that serotonin is the leading factor about maternal behavior supporting offspring survival (Rutter, 2006, p. 214).

Research team uses genetically engineered mutant mice that produce serotonin neurotransmitter within its system. Variation of the brain’s serotonin amount is also said to be related with different types of mental disorder for instances like depression and anxiety of an individual. The research then found out that mutant mice gave birth to a normal number of pups although the offspring didn’t survive after a few days. It is mainly because the mutant mice lack the maternal instincts to care for her offspring. A newborn needs proper handling, appropriate body temperature and warmth, and most importantly a suitable room to promote a higher rate of survival (Rosdahl and Kowalski, 2007, p. 935).

The hormonal changes during pregnancy are mainly to facilitate motherhood. This is also to increase the natural feeling of maternal care. Naturally, a female mammal is expected to nurture her offspring right after giving birth. Constant exposure with one another also broadens the bond between the mother and her offspring (Lauwers and Breck, 2004, p. 178). But then again, it would take an ample time before the mother play her role even if hormonal changes transpire all throughout pregnancy stage. Furthermore, additional changes become apparent even during the actual stage of giving birth. It is very crucial for the mother to play her role to her offspring because there is a possibility that the offspring would die if not properly fostered.

In the course of giving birth, signals are then sent through spinal cord all throughout the parts of the brainstem. After which, neurotransmitter pathways targeted the key areas in the brain to smoothen the progress of labor contractions. At this point in time, the mother can somehow manage the pain in pushing out her offspring. Hormones in the pituitary gland are also released to facilitate milk-let down and to further enhance labor contractions.

Labor contractions also send signals to the small area of the hypothalamus which is called paraventricular nucleus that can be found at the base of the brain (Lazaroff, 2004, p. 17). This process alarms the body to govern behavioral changes in relation to maternal response. Substances like neuropeptide and oxytocin are then released in the brain. Peptides are then loosened in the bloodstream from the posterior pituitary to promote milk-let down mainly from the mammary glands in order for the offspring to receive milk when they start to suckle. The oxytocin deliberately manage the release of transmitters like dopamine, noradrenaline and gamma-amynobutyric acid in the brain area to aid in controlling maternal reaction. Lactation hormones like prolactin also induce changes in maternal behavior.

Clinical studies claim that birth-induced oxytocin that is released through epidural anesthesia in caesarian delivery will somehow delay post-partum maternal response (Cadwell and Maffei, 2002, p.38). Postpartum blues or baby blues happen three to five days period after giving birth. Eventually it will go away after quite some time that will lasts up to ten days after giving birth but in some cases, severe cases of postpartum do happen even after the child turns one.

Medical experts explain that such behavior is triggered by hormonal changes during labor contractions (Longstaff, 2005, p. 286). At the time of pregnancy, female hormones such as estrogen and progesterone reached its highest level and it greatly increases throughout pregnancy. But then after childbirth, within the first 24 hours after delivery, hormone levels abruptly drops and return to its normal state. The major reason why most females are affected and get mood swings at time after giving birth. Feeling alone and sad, anxiousness, lost of appetite and crying spells are indications that one is suffering postpartum blues (Longstaff, 2005, p. 286).

Sudden reduction in thyroid hormones is another medical explanation that link female depression associated after giving birth. Thyroid gland is located in the neck area and this facilitates proper regulation of energy in the body. It normally guards the body in storing and using energy derived from food. Low levels of thyroid hormones are also a ground to demonstrate the same symptoms of postpartum as of depression (Rhoades and Bell, 2008, p. 714). Ailment such as this can be treated by prescription drugs or by a course of therapy.

Importance of Human Emotion

Emotion is a powerful driving force for humans to live and give life. It was long before that science treat brain as an organ capable only to contemplate things. At this point in time, brain is considered as an organ competent to respond and send signals for humans to respond during emotional event. The brain’s emotional core is triggered by various life events or repetitive life episodes. These episodes allow human beings to protect their body from being harmed in all aspect of its existence.

Daily activities suggest human interaction at times and such dealings need not be taken for granted. Human emotions are vital part of being human and without it, social connections can’t be formed. One must understand the importance of human emotion in taking part during motivation, consideration, decision-making and life management. Learning how to handle emotional stages is a very imperative component to survive. Emotion sets human apart from animals, for humans know how to care and value life unlike animals – no wonder why some animals are in danger of extinction.

References

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