Friday, November 3, 2017

Piers Anthony on the Brain

"I matched the Discover video The Brain. The amygdala controls emotion, such as fear. The military trains recruits to control their fear reaction, because otherwise they can make lethal mistakes when panicked. The frontal lobes are the most recently developed part of the brain, and they interact with the amygdala; they can moderate the panic. Suffocating under water is another problem; the amygdala presses the panic button. Training shows them how to handle this. Most SEAL candidates wash out because of panic. Practice in your mind and it helps you get through. Replace bad thoughts with good thoughts. Breathing control. Reproduction is another powerful drive, and orgasm is potent ecstasy also triggered by the amygdala. The brain stem generates dopamine, the pleasure hormone, but the male and female brains react differently. The female orgasm shuts down most of the woman's brain, sometimes rendering her unconscious, while the male remains conscious, perhaps to be ready to defend them in case of danger. Handling danger brings exhilaration, so taking risks is tempting. Some people seek risk more than others. But what of those who don't have these reactions, who lack a conscience, like psychopaths or serial killers? (I think they mean sociopaths, but never mind.) What makes some brains evil? Psychopaths are not bothered as much by their mistakes. They have smaller amygdalas. Less capacity for empathy. And memory: Thanks to that, the brain is constantly traveling through time. What about photographic memory? A person with that is an artistic savant, with incredible visual memory, but lacking in other respects. Memory forms throughout the brain, but the hippocampus is critical; without it, new memories can't form. Memory is essential to just about everything we do. The cerebellum helps with practice. It takes 10,000 hours to get really proficient, and the muscles develop some memory within themselves. There can be performance anxiety. The brain can help a person win, or help him lose. You need to be in the zone, everything just right. Could there be a sixth sense, tuning into the minds of others? Can some people respond to images before the images appear? Is ESP—ExtraSensory Perception—possible? They are connecting people's heads to computers and checking. There are so many questions to answer!"

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