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Brain circuit for this behavior

  1. Mar 13, 2018 #1

    What is the brain circuit responsible for this behavior.. for example.. a person used to be happy, then one day he won a lottery then realized he lost it then commit suicide.

    Another example. A person used to be happy.. then her found a man or woman lover who later dumped him/her then went into depression.. he/she could have been happier if she didn't meet the man or woman

    or another example. You have a normal job.. then found a big job with big salary.. then lost the opportunity and return to normal job.. but end up sad or angry...

    It seems related to this reward system in the brain? how does the neuro anatomy of it works? what exact organs are involved? And is there attempt to create medicine to fix it so one can become contended like living the life before one won and lost the lottery ticket?

    Is this behavior unique to the brain?
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 13, 2018 #2


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    Gold Member

    I don't know anything about the physiology of it all, but disappointment is a function of expectations.
  4. Mar 14, 2018 #3

    jim mcnamara

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    The brain was not designed by an EE - there are few relatively few dedicated "circuits" in the brain itself. Most of the ones that exist are part of systems present in so-called primitive animals. Sense of smell or vision, for example.

    As to anxiety and depression, it is complex, and I am no expert. Here is a discussion from NIH:
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK20438/ -- the biochemistry of anxiety and moods.

    Humans can alter moods by dwelling on an unpleasant thought, for example. So they actually alter levels of chemicals that act on their brain, like serotonin.
  5. Mar 20, 2018 #4
    It is a difficult question and one that's complicated by a lot of pop neuroscience.

    Firstly the brain is always busy and doing multiple things, most of the attempts to localize function seem to suggest that most areas can be associated with multiple functions, even these areas cannot act in isolation so most neuroscience now looks at networks of brain activity. If we use your example of being dumped you could think of systems that might be involved, obviously there would be memory systems about the person and your relationship, its well known that memory storage is widely distributed across the brain.

    Then there are thinking and appraisal systems which call on memory and the value and emotional control systems at this point you might realize that while the brain has executive functions it doesn't and can't act in isolation, emotions are called feelings for good reason. So we become aware of our body sensations and hormones are released which directly effect brain functioning.

    Our initial reactions are often related to the loss of something we value, but the more we think about the situation we start to include other factors. So that's got most of our physical systems involved, you will also see single transmitter substances identifies as controlling specific feelings, serotonin and dopamine are often described as the feel good transmitters, again a gross simplification. Transmitters are often used in a range of neural networks with each neuron receiving messages via several different transmitters, they simply don't work in isolation, nor do they have specific associations with a function.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 8, 2018
  6. May 8, 2018 #5
    I beg your forgiveness for my response , as i don’t mean to cause offence ....

    but I believe the cingulate gyrus (considered part of the limbic lobe) which is responsible for memory, emotion formation ,processing and learning the brain being made up of memory that all senses and experiences pass through this central area on route to various other areas in the brain ( still not fully mapped for hopefully obvious reasons) this area playing a part in the basic reactions of fight , flight or paralysis.......

    if you imagine every single thing you’ve seen , heard , felt and so on has gone through this area all experiences considered and weighed up if it has relativity to survival it will be kept here , ready for instant reaction Analysis.... to decide fight or flight with enough information hopefully you make the right choice and survive .......I would think in the case of the suicide ,that the brain had not received enough information or in fact the cingulate gyrus could be damaged or yet again self control over ones thoughts had not been achieved .

    But I am probably not even ment to be responding to such posts with a limited education for which I’ve all ready asked for forgiveness.
  7. May 8, 2018 #6
    I think your question highlights some of the difficulties in making sense of human behaviours. There is no doubt that the brain is the center of executive decision making and behaviour, it also provides many of the functions that inform these aspects of mind. It also provides a host of functions essential to maintaining homeostasis and maintaining our safety, these often operate outside of awareness and tend to be easier to link to our biology.

    If we use your example of fear responses and try to map how the processing works, we have a number of sensory systems that provide us with information about our environment, unfortunately we don't have the cognitive capacity to process everything we are exposed to. So evolution has provided us certain rules, that appear built in, the help us prioritize what we attend to and how. Obviously indicators of danger are important but we can't really have automatic rules for all situations so it seems we react to stimuli that are sudden, unexpected, and intense, these being modified by isolation, darkness and movement. So when someone jumps out behind, when your not expecting it and making a loud noise, these automatic systems are immediately activated, its very fast there is no thinking involved and it activates a limited set of reactions – fight, flight or freeze. Similar things are seen in many animals.

    Its usually the amygdala that is identified in initiating these reactions and it initiates a massive physiological set of adaptations to help cope with danger. At the same time, the amygdala is using its extensive networks of connections so that more elaborate and detailed processing of the threat is made, using prior experiences and reasoning, though this will still be biased by the emotions. We always overestimate threat, because its safer to do so but it is at the level of the amygdala that the results of this processing is used to modify the physiological responses. The amygdala is involved in all emotional processing and also helps attach emotional value to memories, working with the hippocampus. Memory storage occurs throughout the brain apparently organised by systems of association with other memories and with the sensory systems, it also appears to be highly redundant.
    So in this we can identify an area that is clearly involved near the start of a process, but it then activates a number of other networks, which in turn activate others. An example might be in the fact that conscious processing usually involves language, so those processes will be activated. Emotion is also seen as a major motivator so there are behavioural systems involved.

    What neuroscientists are faced with when they scan the brain is an organ involved in a huge number of tasks all the time and which appears to be very flexible in the way it routes information around. Its always active and they have to use computers to analyse the mass of data they are presented with in order to identify networks of activity that can be linked to specific states. Its no easy task.

    However we look at things its likely that how we interact with our environment will be represented by changes in the brain, this will usually not be a straight forward cause and effect relationship.
    I think its unlikely that there is any one specific point of entry, information is fed into the brain through a variety of sensory systems and of course the brain itself, from previous experiences can be the source of intense effects. The cingulate gyrus forms part of the cingulate cortex and is quite a large area which seems to act as an interface between the more automatic emotional areas and the cortex. Again it is involved in multiple functions is highly interconnected and has been an area of interest in mental health.
    Its true that in many cases depression is characterized by lower levels of activity both in behaviour and in cognition but none of this has really helped us to understand suicide which may have a number of motives. We know being suicidal is not usually a consistent state, often involves the loss of hope (its often about the future not the past) and frequently involves the use of dis-inhibiting drugs.
    Sorry its a long answer.
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