Below the level of the cerebral cortex lies the thalamus, the brain's information relay network. Surrounding the thalamus is a group of structures, the limbic system, which is involved in survival behavior and emotions. Closely linked with the limbic system is the hypothalamus, which has overall control of the autonomic nervous system. The cingulate gyrus is involved in survival behavior. The hippocampus is involved in memory storage.
People with PTSD are shown to have 2 areas of the brain that are sensitive to STRESS SHRINK: the hippocampus,in the limbic system important for memory & the anterior cingulate cortex, part of the prefrontal cortex that is involved in reasoning & decision-making. A fMRI, which tracks blood flow in the brain, revealed that when people who have PTSD are reminded of the trauma, they tend to have an underactive prefrontal cortex & an overactive amygdala, which processes fear and emotion.
"...when you're in front of an audience and you make them laugh at a new idea, you're guiding the whole being for the moment. No one is ever more him/herself than when they really laugh. Their defenses are down. It's very Zen-like, that moment. They are completely open, completely themselves when that message hits the brain and the laugh begins. That's when new ideas can be implanted. If a new idea slips in at that moment, it has a chance to grow.” ― George Carlin, Last Words
Frontiers | Is dorsal anterior cingulate cortex activation in response to social exclusion due to expectancy violation? An fMRI study | Frontiers in Evolutionary Neuroscience Note: Effects from ostracism
Indirect spinothalamic pathways. These pathways mediate the affective and arousal components of pain, temperature, and simple tactile sensations. (A) The ascending axons in the paleothalamic tract synapse in the brainstem reticular formation and neurons in midline and intralaminar thalamic nuclei, which then project diffusely to the cerebral cortex including the cingulate gyrus. (B) In the spinoreticular tract, one group of ascending axons projects to the medullary reticular formation, and…
Anterior cingulate cortex (ACC): the frontal part of the cingulate cortex that resembles a "collar" surrounding the frontal part of the corpus callosum; plays a role in a wide variety of autonomic functions such as regulating blood pressure and heart rate; also involved in rational cognitive functions, such as reward anticipation, decision-making, empathy, impulse control, emotion
Reduced Cognitive Control in Passionate Lovers. Henk Steenbergen, Sandra J. E. Langeslag, Guido P. H. Band, Bernhard Hommel. Reduced cognitive control in passionate lovers. Motivation and Emotion, DOI: published at