PREVIOUS: What about anger #4
SITE: “Your Brain & what it does”
REVIEW posts: ‘Emotions & the body’ (Part 1-3)
OVERVIEW: As we look at the relationship of anger to the brain, it helps to have context. All parts of the brain inter-connect with all other parts – each structure & each chemical has multiple functions, doing different things in different locations. But greatly simplified, the brain has Left & Right side differences, & 3 major sections – Old, Middle & New. In reasonably healthy people, and under normal circumstances, rash impulses (Old) & emotions (Middle) are modified & managed by the ability to think things thru (New).
Interesting: “The Little History of the Mind-Brain”
1. RATIONAL THOUGHT is formed in the front part of the Neo (cerebral) cortex, the outermost layer of the brain, which integrates higher mental & instinctive functions, general movement & perception.
● The pre-frontal cortex (PFC) makes
up the largest part, the 2 lobes above & behind the eyes. It is the ‘seat’ of personality, & its main job is to equip us to think things through so we can decide how to use information located in other sensory & memory centers throughout the brain.
— Together, the 2-part PFC is a high-level filter for emotional control, but the sides do it differently. It gives us access to accumulated info that tells us how to communicate & interact appropriately in private or public situations. It allows us to take actions based on a specific goal in the moment, & does this in part by preventing irrelevant stimuli from interfering (we can keep reading a book even if there’s a lot of noise nearby….). It’s also the location for self-talk.
Interesting: “Listening to yourself – Inner Speech across the lifespan”
● The PFC carries out executive functions (higher-level mental processes that organize lower-level ones, to regulate & verify behaviors) TO:
– consider future consequences of current activities
– determine what’s unreal vs real, rational vs. irrational, appropriate or inappropriate… & filter right from wrong
– figure out conflicting thoughts (same-different / better-best / good-bad)
– have social ‘control’ (suppress urges leading to unacceptable outcomes)
– identify expectations based on actions (possible outcomes)
– make sound judgments & work toward a defined goals
– plan responses to complex or difficult problems
process current environment & past memories (See “Brain anatomy”)
There are 3 main models for how the brain works, & combining them gives the most accurate picture. They are:
— Hierarchy: some things must happen before others can work. The brain’s lower levels must be working for the higher ones to run correctly.
— Value systems: some things are more important than others
— Synchronization: what’s happening or not happening all together at any given moment has a big impact on the brain
● According to “The Life Model”, the brain’s right hemisphere has a 4-level emotional regulation control center. It keeps the activity of the brain running smoothly as long as emotions do not become more intense than the system can handle.
A healthy center is built on positive & joyful experiences with significant relationships, which gives a great capacity to cope with stress. When someone has had too many bad life experiences, the brain has a very limited capacity or skills to regulate & cope, & needs help to heal itself.
1. controls our personal reality – how we identify our experiences
2. controls our basic evaluations – how we understand our experiences
3. regulates motivation for everything we do, & synchronizing our life rhythms, from the cingulate cortex
4. gives the ability to quiet ourselves – to not ‘lose it’, stay upset for too long, or over-react. Also, gives us our Identity, ‘Who I am’, from the PFC
NEXT: Anger & the Brain (Part 2)