What Part of the Brain Controls Emotions and Feelings?

What Part of the Brain Controls Emotions and Feelings

What Part of the Brain Controls Emotions and Feelings

What part of the brain controls emotions and feelings?

Introduction

The brain is the most important organ that controls almost all different systems that are in the body of all living organisms. The brain is a vital organ that helps a human being in all the functions that are done on a daily basis.

It is the most important organ for a human being because it is because of the brain that a human being can even move his fingers. Without the functioning of the brain, the human body will stop functioning.

The human brain is very much needed because it helps in the movements of limbs, helps in the functioning of the respiratory system, which in turn helps in the process of breathing, helps in the functioning of digestive system, which in turn helps to convert food into energy, and also helps in the reproduction process without which the human species would be extinct.

Just like how all the functions of the human body is controlled by a human brain, all emotions and feelings, too, are regulated by the brain.

The emotions, reactions to these emotions, responses, etc. are also controlled by the human brain. These are all related to the human brain and sensory organs. The brain is one of the complex organs in any living being. The human brain has almost 14 to 16 billion neurons in the cerebral cortex region alone.

There are different parts of the brain that take care of different functions. The limbic system, a vital part of the brain, is the one that is responsible for all the human emotions and feelings. Let’s see more about the structure of the limbic system in the following sections.

Limbic System – The Emotion and Feelings Controller

The limbic system is a part of the brain that controls and manages all human emotions and feelings. This system is also called the paleomammalian cortex.

The limbic system is in charge of a variety of functions other than the controlling of human emotions and feelings. It is also responsible for human behavior, olfaction, motivation, and long term memory.

The limbic system is situated on both sides of the thalamus. This limbic node is specifically situated just beneath the medial temporal lobe of the cerebrum, located in the anterior portion of the brain. The limbic system of the human brain is the storehouse of all human emotions.

Therefore, this system helps in the formation of memories. Memories, in turn, are attached to emotions and feelings. The limbic system is not a single organ but a combination of a lot of organs to form a detailed and organized structure.

Parts of the Limbic System

The limbic system is made up of some important organs such as the following:

  • Amygdaloid nuclear complex, which is very popularly known as amygdala
  • Hippocampus
  • Mammillary bodies
  • Stria medullaris
  • Central gray, dorsal nuclei of gudden and ventral nuclei of gudden

The limbic system is divided into three areas known as the cortical area, subcortical area, and diencephalic structures. The structure of the limbic system is such that it helps the human body in the motivation-creation process, emotions-creating process, learning process and the memory-making and retaining process.

All these processes closely related to each other because all of these processes need some kind of emotion that triggers a reaction.

The hippocampus and the amygdalae are few of the most important parts of the limbic process because the hippocampus is the part of the limbic system that helps in understanding a situation thoroughly and completely.

The amygdala is the part of the limbic system that helps in starting the response for the information or data that is perceived by the hippocampus. The hippocampus works along with the prefrontal lobe to perceive the information or data from a specific situation or circumstance.

Hypothalamus & Limbic Cortex – Small but Powerful Emotion Controllers

The hypothalamus and limbic cortex are also parts of the limbic system. The hypothalamus is a very small part of the human brain and the limbic system.

It is situated near the pituitary gland and is located in the base area of the human brain. It is responsible for four different functions. They are controlling the emotional responses, controlling the sexual responses, helping in the process of hormone-releasing and regulating body temperature.

The limbic cortex is another part of the human brain. It is a tiny part of the limbic system and is responsible for some important functions.

The limbic cortex is made up of two separate structures. They are cingulate gyrus and parahippocampal gyrus. These two structures work together to impact the mood, judgment and motivation levels of an individual.

The above are all some of the structures that form part of the limbic system of the brain. These are not the only structures that form the limbic system.

Tests, studies and researches are being conducted to find out more about the organs of the brain that can be included in the limbic system because of their role in controlling the emotions and feelings of a person.

Different Types of Emotions and How They are Triggered by the Limbic System

Happiness

The first and foremost emotion that all human beings go through at some point in their life is happiness. Happiness is an emotion that a person feels when he is satisfied. In other words, happiness is the overall state of the well- being of a person.

When a person is happy, all that he has inside and around him are positive and happy thoughts. These thoughts make the whole mood around the person peaceful and lovely.

The human brain is responsible for all kinds of emotions that a human being goes through. There is a particular part of the brain that is responsible for the happiness of a person. The limbic cortex and precuneus are responsible for a human being to feel happy.

The precuneus helps in retrieving memories, maintaining the sense of oneself and focusing the attention of the human as they go about in the environment.

There is also a study that states that people who have a larger portion of their gray matter in the right precuneus tend to be happier than the people who have a large portion of their gray matter in the left precuneus.

Love

It is quite strange to consider that love is a result of some brain function. Love is an emotion that everyone experiences in their day to day lives, for people they like and care for.

Love is the only good feeling that comes along with a little bit of anxiety and nervousness. The function of the brain in relation to the feeling of love is quite weird but true.

The beginning of the romantic feeling of love is very much related to the stress response triggered by the hypothalamus. Once the feeling of love starts to grow in a person, the hypothalamus will start to trigger the release of some hormones like dopamine, oxytocin, and vasopressin.

The dopamine is a hormone that is associated with the reward mechanism of the human body and this is the reason why love is a desirable feeling.

A study showed that when showed the picture of a person they love and a picture of an acquaintance to a person, the parts of the brain that had dopamine reacted to the picture of the former more than the latter.

Oxytocin is the hormone that is called the love hormone. This is because this hormone increases when a person hugs the person they love or when they have an orgasm.

This hormone is produced in the hypothalamus and is let out through the pituitary gland. Vasopressin is also a hormone that is produced in the hypothalamus and let out through the pituitary gland.

Anger

This is an emotion that everyone goes through in their lives on a regular basis. This is because humans come in contact with different types of situations. Out of these, some might trigger the feeling of anger in humans. People tend to get the feeling of anger when they are in a state of helplessness and frustration.

The feeling of anger is produced by three parts of the limbic system. They are the amygdalae, hypothalamus and prefrontal cortex.

People, who have any damage or injury in these parts of the limbic system, will have a difficult time controlling their anger and aggression. The lack of control due to damage is not just exclusive for the feeling of anger but to other emotions and feelings as well.

Fear

Fear is a feeling that a person goes through when he is terrified and scared. The feeling of fear creeps up on a person when he is in a situation that he is not comfortable with. Fear may vary from person to person. Some might have a fear of heights; some might have a fear of the dark and some might fear public speaking.

The hypothalamus and amygdalae are responsible for the creation of the feeling of fear in humans. When a person is experiencing fear, he or she might experience the following things: hyperventilating, heavy breathing, raising heart rate, and would be hyper-alert about their surroundings.

After understanding these functions of the brain, we hope you will know how to control your emotions & feelings better than before.

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