Our Smoke Detector: From The Body Keeps the Score:

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The central function of the amygdala, which I call the brain’s smoke detector, is to identify whether incoming input is relevant for our survival.

It does so quickly and automatically, with the help of feedback from the hippocampus, a nearby structure that relates the new input to past experiences.

If the amygdala senses a threat—a potential collision with an oncoming vehicle, a person on the street who looks threatening—it sends an instant message down to the hypothalamus and the brain stem, recruiting the stress-hormone system and the autonomic nervous system (ANS) to orchestrate a whole-body response.

Because the amygdala processes the information it receives from the thalamus faster than the frontal lobes do, it decides whether incoming information is a threat to our survival even before we are consciously aware of the danger.

By the time we realize what is happening, our body may already be on the move.

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2 responses to this post.

  1. I like the smoke detector analogy, thanks for sharing 😊

  2. Thank you

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