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Modern Brain // Ancient Brain (Part 1)

Updated: Aug 24, 2020

It is estimated that we have around 70,000 thoughts per day. Half of these are words and the other half are pictures but it depends on the person.

Our brain is the control centre making sense of all the information from our senses and providing commands to the body. i.e. the brain is the controller of the bodies nervous system.

The Cerebrum or forebrain (see pre frontal cortex below) makes up 85% of the entire brains weight and is the 'most modern' part of the brain which has undergone the most changes over the last 100, 000 years. It is the area responsible for reasoning, cognitive control (thinking before doing), movement, reproduction, eating sleeping and emotional control.

  • Forebrain (including) Prefrontal Cortex - This is the New Brain: the analytical processes we are required to undertake

  • Limbic System - this is the Mammalian Brain: the emotional part (includes pituitary gland)

  • Brain stem (and cerebellum) - this is the Reptilian Brain: our instincts including involuntary reflexes and responses.

🧠 The prefrontal cortex (PFC) is part of the Forebrain (remember the biggest part of the brain). It has evolved as ew have learned to live in groups or societies and communicates with the body through the Central Nervous System.

Humans have the largest ratio of prefrontal cortex relative the the Forebrain than any other species.

The PFC is responsible for judgement, problem solving, decision making, movement will power and impulse control to name a few. A number of stress related or hyperactivity conditions have been associated with reduced activity in the PFC.

Interestingly, delaying gratification has been shown to improve the function of the PFC.

The Amygdala in the brain is part of our mammalian brain and is responsible for processing the input from our sensory organs: sight, sound, touch and taste (not smell). It also activates when we perceive a threat.

There is a direct link between the PFC and the Amygdala and researchers are beginning to establish that there may be a link between anxiety, as a result of continued threat and a change in the communication between these areas of the brain.

In order to to stay focussed on daily tasks while under perceived threat, the way that the brain functions is altered.

It has been suggested that these changes in the brain over long periods of psychological state changes linked to anxiety that last longer than the presence of danger and impair goal-directed behaviour (i.e focussing on tasks) and daily functioning.

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