Monday, February 16, 2009

Gut is everywhere

kw: rethinking, fear

In my prior post (just below, or click here) I reviewed The Science of Fear, in which Daniel Gardner surveys the conflict between Gut and Head, and the use made of this conflict by media and political leaders. I didn't state it too strongly, but Gardner states a few times that both Gut and Head are located in our brain, just in different brain systems of different evolutionary ages.

Rethinking this, I realize it is not entirely true. Before there was much of a brain, there were glands. They did the thinking for the earliest animals. The brain adds analysis. What author Gardner calls Gut is a combination of the deepest part of the Limbic System and the Endocrine System.

We can see this when we find ourselves in adrenaline overdrive before any analysis has taken place. Some threats seem to go right from the senses to the glands, and we even forget to fear until we're halfway up a tree or well down the road. Various articles I've read over the years show how the endocrine system is actually the fastest, with the emotional brain lagging a little, and the analytical brain being left entirely out of the loop until the crisis is over.

To a significant extent, Gut really is located in our gut.

No comments: