What Part of the Brain Controls Fear

What Part of the Brain Controls Fear

What Part of the Brain Controls Fear

What part of the brain controls fear


The human brain is a vital organ that is responsible for all the functions in the human body. The brain sends the necessary signals and the different body parts functions according to the signals given by the brain. The brain is like a supercomputer that does multitasking in a better way than any of the man-made supercomputers ever produced.

The main difference is that the brain can stimulate empathy and make an appropriate and rational decision while the man-made supercomputers run on codes and regulations which lack empathy.

The brain is the superpower that controls human emotions. There are several emotions that a person goes through. A single organ controls all of these emotions.

The emotions of a human being may vary drastically depending upon the situation, circumstances etc. These are the triggers for human emotions. Some of the most common emotions are amusement, enlightenment, happiness, contempt, relief, guilt, embarrassment, pain, fear etc.

Fear is one of the emotions that every human being has when they are dealing with something scary or when they are in a stressful situation. Fear is common to every person, but the cause of the fear may vary from one person to another. The way one reacts to fear is also different from one person to another.

Amygdala – The Fear Inducing Nervous Tissues

The amygdala is a nervous tissue that is a part of the human brain. It has some of the most crucial functions that are in connection with the behavior of humans in general.

The amygdala is a nervous tissue that got its name from the Latin word amygdale, meaning almond-shaped. The tissue is almond-shaped and some of its primary or main functions are memory processing, the process of decision making, and the creation of emotional responses.

There is two amygdalas, and hence, they are always referred to as the amygdalae, which is the plural form for the amygdala. There are on the left and right sides of the brain. The amygdala is situated in the temporal lobe of the brain.

The brain has four lobes and they are the frontal lobe, temporal lobe, parietal lobe and occipital lobe. The amygdala is in the temporal lobe just beneath the frontal lobe.

It is situated nearer to the hippocampus and the frontal portion of the temporal lobe of the human brain. It is very small in size and still does some of the crucial functions in the brain that help the human body to function normally in the day to day life.

Fear is a very strong emotion that is embedded in humans since the beginning of time. Fear is an overwhelming emotion that can either make the person do the most amazing things or do something that is drastically disruptive.

Fear is an emotion that is felt by human beings when they are threatened or scared or when the person is in a dreadful or frightening situation.

This emotion of fear can make the person feel anxious and, in some worse cases, can even lead to panic attacks. Fear is an emotion that can result in two very probable reactions. A person who is overwhelmed with fear can either stand and fight the fear or run away from the fear.

Some people get a rush out of feeling the dreadful emotion of fear, while some are panic-stricken in the face of fear. Fear can also make people freeze due to the heavy flow of emotion within a limited span of time.

Fear is considered as one of the most basic and innate forms of emotions. It is not just related to the mental state of a person. When a person is experiencing fear, there will be certain reactions in the physical state of the human body as well. Heavy breathing and an increase in the heart rate are some of these common biological reactions.

Fear is an emotion like all other emotions, which start in the brain and spread like wildfire throughout the body. When the fear starts spreading to the body from the brain, a person is forced to choose between fight or flight responses. Fear starts as a response to some action, event or situation. It usually starts in the part of the brain called the amygdala.

There are two amygdalae and both of them work together to create the response to the action, event or situation. The amygdala is in the temporal lobe of the brain and is the core for triggering the emotion called fear. The almond-shaped amygdala is a set of nuclei that is in the temporal part of the brain.

This is the part that has the primary job of detecting any prominent or particular reaction of the stimuli when a human being encounters something and triggering a quick reaction in a person when he encounters something strange, fearful or stressful.

The amygdalae are nervous tissues that create a particular emotion in the human mind whenever we see a person, place, or thing. According to the emotions that we start feeling when we see a particular person, place or thing, the amygdalae trigger a response to different body parts for the efficient handling of the situation.

When a person feels happy meeting another person, the amygdala triggers a response to the facial muscles and nerves. This will lead to the final reaction of the person, as he starts smiling at the other person.

Similarly, when a person is overwhelmed with fear, the amygdala sends trigger responses to the human body parts. These responses help in the mortar function and also trigger the release of stress hormones and the sympathetic nervous system.

This trigger response made by the amygdala in the situation of threat leads to a lot of bodily reactions. The reaction is almost like a chain reaction where one sense after the other is woken up once the warning is triggered by the amygdala.

The fear that is formed and the way trigger warnings are sent throughout the body, create a chain reaction of responses in different body parts.

The brain is hyper-alert after these triggers. The pupils start to dilate, and the bronchi start to dilate, which will soothe the accelerated or heavy breathing. The heart starts to pump at a higher speed than usual and the blood pressure rises. The blood flow and the stream of glucose flow to the skeletal muscles start to increase.

The last but not the least part of the chain reaction is that those organs that are not the primary part of the reaction process will begin to slow down. This helps to give enough blood for the vital organs so that these organs can work efficiently and powerfully during the time of crisis.

The last part is a very complex part because even heavy machinery needs some time to slow down while the organs inside a human body that is solely controlled by one single organ, that is the brain, do an impeccable job of alternating the power and strength to different body parts during different situations.

The amygdala is the part of the brain where the response to fear is initiated. There are other parts of the brain that help to perceive the fear. These parts of the brain work along with the amygdala to create a proper response for everything that the human eye sees.

The two parts of the brain that help the amygdala in perceiving the threat or severity of the situation are the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex. The hippocampus is closely connected with amygdalae in the human brain.

The hippocampus and the pre-frontal cortex work together to help the amygdala, which in turn, helps the human brain to perceive, analyze and interpret threats.

The hippocampus and prefrontal cortex do higher-level processing of the threat that is perceived. This higher-level processing cannot be done by the amygdala. This advanced level of processing is the stage where the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex help the human brain to know whether the perceived threat is real or unreal.

For example, seeing a lion in the wilderness is a real threat, while seeing it in a zoo is not a threat at all. Another example to prove this point is as follows.

There is no perceived real threat when people go into haunted houses for fun, even though the things inside are made exclusively to scare people. On the other hand, experiencing a paranormal or supernatural thing in one’s real-life can be quite a scary event, indeed!

Overcoming fear

All emotions, including fear, can be controlled if the right and proper efforts are done to overcome it. One of the most practiced and successful ways to overcome fear is by trying to remain calm in a chaotic or stressful environment. Nothing good comes from being nervous or stressful.

When a person is overcome with fear, he usually sweats a lot. Their hands become clammy. In the worst case, this situation may even lead to anxiety or a panic attack. One of the best ways to overcome fear is by calming the nerves, with the help of mental conditioning exercises such as meditation or any form of soothing exercises for the mind.

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