5 surprising facts about the brain and emotions

Healthy lifestyle

5 surprising facts about the brain and emotions

4 july 2018


Our body is amazing and fascinating! We have selected for you five interesting facts related to the human body and brain. Interestingly, which of the following did you already know, and which became a discovery?

Playful neurons

You may have heard the phrase: “Neurons that fire together communicate.” It summarizes in a simplified form the amazing discovery made in 1949 by the Canadian physiologist Donald Hebb, who proved that the structure of our brain is very plastic. So, Hebb discovered that brain cells that are repeatedly activated at the same time, tend to establish a connection with each other. In other words, activity in one neuron leads to activity in another. This discovery significantly changed our understanding of the importance of neurons for the learning process.

As the cells excite each other over and over again, there is a certain increase or change in the metabolism of the bonds between these cells, which is why they begin to stimulate each other even more effectively. If we transfer this law to the field of speech activity and giving meaning to expressions, then we can say: if one word is often found in the context of a certain action, then its sounding provokes activity in the motor region of the brain, which, in turn, contributes to a faster understanding of this word … We understand many ways to pronounce a word, because the motor areas of the brain that would be used to perform the action that we are told about are involved in the process of making sense of the sounds we hear.

You Design Your Stress

You probably think stress is something that happens to you, such as when you try to do five things at once, or when your boss says tomorrow’s work needed to be done yesterday, or you lost a loved one. However, stress does not come from the outside world. You design it.

Some types of stress are positive, such as the challenge you face when learning a new subject at school. Some are negative but tolerant, such as a fight with your best friend. Some are harmful, such as chronic stress associated with prolonged poverty, abuse, or loneliness. In other words, stress is a collection of different experiences. You construct cases of “stress” through the same brain mechanisms that create emotions.

People don’t notice the flaws of others.

Most of us just think we stand out a lot. After all, each person is the center of his universe. Because we are so fixated on our behavior, it’s difficult for us to accurately gauge how intent – or superficial – attention others are paying to us. in fact, there is often a mismatch between how we see ourselves (and think others do too) and how others see us.

Things that we fear so much (as if others will see us stumble on the street, make a mistake at a party, or misread something during a lesson) often goes unnoticed. And if someone notices this, then immediately forgets.

Fitness and kids

The brain has tremendous plasticity, especially during childhood, and physical activity can significantly improve a child’s mental performance. In a recent study, University of Illinois professor Charles Hillman and colleague Art Kramer and their collaborators collected data on the physical condition of a group of children aged 9-10 years. They scanned the brains of students as they performed a series of tests specifically designed to test logical thinking, reasoning and reasoning, and memory.

The brain has tremendous plasticity, especially during childhood, and physical activity can significantly improve a child's mental performance.

As it turned out, physically fit children performed much better on memory tests than their peers. And the most interesting thing, according to the level of physical fitness of each child, it was possible to fairly accurately judge the size of his hippocampus. Like the mice that spent a lot of time on the treadmill, the physically prepared children had the most developed hippocampus.

Facial expressions and emotions

A prolonged inability to form negative facial expressions – wrinkling your forehead or frowning – changes the way the brain perceives negative emotions. People who get rid of wrinkles with Botox have decreased activity of the nerve centers involved in the processing of emotions. One of the brain centers where negative emotions are formed is the amygdala; this area is located deep in the human brain and is almond-shaped. So, after treatment with Botox, such areas of the patient’s brain respond to the request to make an angry or sad face less actively than before the injections. Failure to put on an angry or sad expression on your face for several weeks causes the brain to read negative emotional experiences differently, blurring ideas about negative emotions and making them less clear.

Based on materials from the book Science of Communication, How Emotions Are Born and The Brain and Body.

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