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Can neocortex initiate emotional behaviour and what is it?

  1. Feb 12, 2011 #1
    Hello everyone,

    Can neocortex initiate emotional behaviour. Since it is outside limbic system, is it not considered part of limbic system. What exactly is this structure? Why only humans have this. Does this give us moral values. Thanks :smile:
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 12, 2011 #2
    Sure, there's connections between both systems. You can activate an emotional response just by having a certain idea.

    It's not like the limbic system is isolated from the rest of the brain.

    Humans are not unique in this regard, and it has nothing to do with moral values. Moral values are cultural and relativistic. Not biological.
  4. Feb 13, 2011 #3
    Thanks for the reply :smile: I don't know why I corelatd this with moral values??
  5. Feb 14, 2011 #4


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    Neocortex does take part in social values. We have to be able to appreciate and learn social values in the first place. Teenagers, for instance are still myelinating their frontal lobe axons.

    http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/teenage-brain-a-work-in-progress-fact-sheet/index.shtml [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
  6. Feb 14, 2011 #5
    Taking part in a process is different than determining that process. The moral values of a culture are not determined by the biology of the Brain.

    Of course the Brain has a part to play in social interaction and development. In understanding the rules, having a theory of mind, and all those things. They will influence how you take in, interpret, and follow moral rules.

    I still argue, however, that the culture determines which rules to follow in the first place. There is no such thing as an ultimate right or wrong. All you have to do is look at a couple dozen hunter gatherer societies to see that morals vary widely among humans.
  7. Feb 14, 2011 #6


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    I'm not arguing against your post, I was answering post #3
  8. Feb 14, 2011 #7
    All true, yet there is a valid argument for some basic programming if you will, which transcends culture. I'm not talking about anything complex, just pro-social elements like those Pythagorean refers to.

    I'd add, in this process, whatever role the neocortex plays seems to be fairly key. Sadly, this is where imaging of today starts to seem a bit like phrenology, but while I agree that no absolute morality exists... this is in the context of biology and the human brain.

    I'd add, if you look at those groups and strip away the varnish of culture, and just examine them in terms of:

    1.) Initial moral state of an organism... its default BIOS.
    2.) The demands of the environment
    3.) Discrepancies between the CURRENT demands of the environment, and cultural artifacts of previous demands.

    ... I think you'd find them more alike than not.
  9. Feb 17, 2011 #8
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Limbic_cortex" [Broken].
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
  10. Feb 17, 2011 #9


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    I've heard this view a couple times, so I thought I'd mention it. I don't really know enough about the so-called "limbic system" to have an educated opinion"

    Useless or Helpful? The concept "limbic system"
    (R. Kotter, Reviews in Neuroscience)
    http://www.hirn.uni-duesseldorf.de/rk/LS/ls97.pdf [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
  11. Feb 17, 2011 #10
    Isn't it fun when art and science mix? That is a very lucid article in my view, and to me the takeaway is not to assume agreement or knowledge on this topic for one. For another, it would seem to indicate a creep in textbooks and teaching of intellectual laziness on this topic, which is utterly unacceptable.

    In my view, the term is valuable only in casual conversation such as those had online; the moment a serious non-common definition arrives, it should be abandoned for superior descriptive terms which already exist.

    If the DMN were sold this way, neuroscientists would be crucified!
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
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