Unpacking the Science

The brain has an uncanny ability to control

  • how we regulate bodily functions that are critical for sustaining life — (Autonomic functions)
  • how we FEEL, imprint, and recall information that we feel attached or averse to — (Limbic functions)
  • and how we logically appraise, prioritize, and make sense of sensory information — and/or regulate how that information is used. (Executive functions)

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The more ways we process (or think about) sensory information, the deeper we imprint the narratives and judgments that shape our behavior.

For example, the first time that we encounter an open flame as children, we impulsively become mesmerized —  drawn in by the activation of our sensory pathways which hijack all of our senses until we become completely absorbed in the multi-sensory experience.

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Without realizing it, our blood pressure lowers as we immerse ourselves in the luminous dance of the crackling flames and aroma of charred wood grain intoxicates our optic, aural and olfactory receptors (autonomic response).

The longer we watch the flames and allow the flames to consume our attention, the more familiar we become with the intimate patterns of behavior that influence the way the blaze swells as a log is added to the hearth.

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If we watch it long enough, we can also differentiate how the flames play, flicker, and uncoil into thin trails of billowy smoke as if it were a cobra in a trance with each passing wind.

If we’re in a situation where we’re sitting around a bonfire with trusted and admired loved ones, we may imprint feelings of safety, acceptance, amd trust to our earliest memories of bonfires.

In that respect, as it is with many folks who grow up with secure attachments surrounding their experience of fire, the word fire becomes associated with ‘belonging’ and other multi-sensory forms of ‘play.’

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The cognitive affect, or emotions that help us process how we FEEL and remember those kinds of experiences more than likely will shape the way we view fires in our adolescence and adulthood, or how we view the function that fire plays in other aspects of our lives like within our families, communities, or home.

Alternatively, having an adverse experience with fire, like watching our beloved childhood home engulfed in flames…

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might trigger different associations with the words ‘fire’ and homes. These kinds of limbic associations essentially become emotional triggers.

Once our limbic system imprints stress and reward signals, and other emotional judgments or impressions in our mind regarding:

a) how we interpret the word ‘FIRE’

b) how we recall memories, interpretations, and personally identify with the word

c) and whether or not the concept of the word creates a secure or triggering attachment for us

How we recall our memories of fire, will be informed by how we process and transform our understanding of our experience with it, until we master it as a teaching tool.

How we choose to reflect upon, compartmentalize and/or make sense of how our cognitive view of the word ‘fire’ may have been shaped or distorted by an adverse or favorable experience….

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may not always resonate with another person’s view or idea of the word fire.

This can be true especially if we find that we may have received narratives about fire safety that may have been the direct result of someone else’s experience, but that we may not fully mastered a clear and coherent idea of the concept — what it is, how it is used, etc. for ourselves.

 

The executive functions of the brain help you mentalize and reappraise the sensory information that you take in so that you have a sense of how best to use that information in a way that allows you to measure whether the mental maps you are using to make sense of information are helping you BE the PERSON YOU WANT to be, and GET WHERE YOU’D LIKE TO BE in life.

Here at The NeuroTrust, our goal is to help you make sense of behavioral responses and judgments you may not be aware of so that we can help you achieve your goals in a way that’s more effective and more rewarding in the long run.

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