We feel emotions all the time, whether we’re excited for a party, or sad because our dog died, emotions are a part of our everyday life.
The limbic system is the part of our brain that causes emotional and behavioral responses that influence our every move. It causes responses like the fight or flight instinct. The limbic system is located right above the brainstem and below the cerebral cortex. Many parts of the brain interact with the limbic system to create day to day emotions and behaviors. It’s an important part of what makes us the way we are. So, how does the limbic system work?
There are two main parts of the brain that interact with the limbic system to create our senses and emotions. They’re called the Hippocampus and the Amygdala. The hippocampus looks like a curved seahorse. There are two hippocampi, one in each hemisphere of the brain. That’s where all our episodic memories are created and sorted to different parts of the cerebral cortex. Connections are made between our memories and senses in the hippocampus, like how the smell of pumpkin spice might remind you of a fall festival you attended three years ago. Our limbic system interacts with the hippocampus to connect senses to memories.
The Amygdala is named after its almond shape. It is right next to the hippocampus, and it plays a big role in our emotional responses. It causes feelings like fear, anger, anxiety, and pleasure. The amygdala connects these emotions to our memories. This is what makes strongly emotional memories hard to forget.
The limbic system is a very integral part of our brain, as it plays a big part in how we feel and act. I wonder what other parts of the brain are used in our everyday lives.
- Diya V.
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