The Lord, who stretches out the heavens, who lays the foundation of the earth, and who forms the human spirit within a person...
What if, through brain research, we can finally understand how the human spirit actually forms in a person and how it can be modified.
My experience as the supervisor of computer aided design for a defense company that built some of the world's most advanced guidance systems, including the space shuttle, has helped guide me on a 6 year research project wiring up the main circuits of the brain. My 30 years of programming experience with electronics and software was invaluable in helping me along the way to understand how brain circuits are actually processing live data, in a similar way as our modern day transistors, to program and control our emotions and behaviors. It all starts with the recognition we receive from our senses which gets wired back to our stored emotional memories located in our orbital frontal cortex. The orbital frontal cortex is connected to neurons that release neurotransmitters like dopamine, serotonin and orexin based on the reward/punishment or good/evil value of what we see, hear, smell, taste and feel. Rewarding (or pleasurable) responses excite the downstream neurons to fire by releasing positive ions from their axons, while punishing (or pain) responses would try to inhibit these circuits from firing through a breaking circuit that releases negative ions. These circuits battle to process the reward response of our sensory inputs which helps to regulate the circuits that not only control our behavior but also our stress, pain sensitivity, hunger, facial expressions, even the hormones that control our cells and more. Ultimately these signals reach the behavioral programs stored in the cerebellum which control our instinctive habits through wired circuits to our motor cortex, the region that controls our limbs. This system of recognition to rewards through the stored experience values in the orbital frontal cortex is built into almost all living things. Humans, on the other hand, have a second region that also controls our recognition to rewards network. That area is called our prefrontal cortex and it develops later in life. The prefrontal cortex allows humans to inhibit a reward response from the orbital frontal cortex even though it may actually produce pleasure. This region matures through learning and education and stores our moral good and evil values. All of these circuits become part of our spirit, where "who we are" and "how we react" is actually stored.
Most of what people think of as the “self”—what we think, what we remember, what we can do, how we feel—is acquired by the brain from the experiences that occur after birth. -The Science of Early Childhood Development
So maybe we shouldn't be telling children to "be who you are", implying that they were actually born this way and cannot change when new research proves that you are "who you have become" through experiences after birth. And as we will see in this section, "who you have become" can change completely. It's amazing as an engineer to finally understand how all these hi-tech electrical systems store and process the learned information we receive from our senses, even at times, without us being aware. After 10 years of studying scripture, I can now see how memorized biblical laws can actually form circuits in this hi-tech reward system by modifying our good vs evil networks to create an instinctive, protective spirit which controls how we act and react to the world around us, changing the circuits that were once in place. I'm not going to kid you, this is the most advanced technology I have ever studied. We are hi-tech and our current understanding of technology doesn't even come close.
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
This electrical map of brain connections, which neuroscientists call our connectome, contains the wiring of over 80 billion neurons which form over 60 trillion connections. Our connectome is so advanced from an engineering perspective, that it would take over 34,000 of our top computer processors just to match it in computational power alone. Can you imagine the knowledge of the one who created it? As you ponder that thought let's also consider how this system is constructed. Where do the raw materials come from to build and wire 80 billion neurons so precisely that they can form the intelligent, highly engineered circuits that process all this information? The Bible refers to our physical body as our "flesh" and the materials used to build it actually begin with seeds. When a seed is placed in the soil it grows by absorbing nitrogen and other nutrients from the dirt. Mixed with carbon from the air and water these materials form amino acids, the building blocks that seeds use to produce their roots, branches and ultimately, their fruit. As insects and animals feed on these plants, the same 20 amino acids are extracted through digestion of plant proteins and sent to their cells which assemble the new proteins that make them grow. Humans feed on both plants and animals, extracting the same 20 amino acids through digestion of proteins, then distributing them throughout our bloodstream to our cells. Our cells read through our DNA code to find one of the 20,000 different protein types it needs to build, then assembles the amino acids into protein chains of up to 25,000 amino acids long. These proteins are moved and assembled in the body which makes our body grow (see video). The laws of engineering also tell us that DNA does something more than just code for proteins. DNA must also contain the point to point instructions required to wire up our infant brain and prepare a connectome with over 50,000 neurons, ready to learn and store a new spirit. So our physical body is really formed from the dust of the earth just as scripture tells us. But where then does our spirit come from?
Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.
and the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.
Using our relatively new post Darwinian knowledge of how software programs work, how computer viruses work and how electronic circuits work, then seeing how the brain programs and stores memories with neurons in a similar but more efficient way, we can finally understand the underlying code that drives people to do the things they do. So how exactly does this spirit network work? Is it set in us, unchangeable by our biology, or is our spirit formed over time through our exposure to other people and the world?
Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.
According to scripture, our spirit is born through a different process than our flesh. Spirit gives birth to spirit. That means, according to scripture, that we are not born to be "who we are" from our flesh, rather we are influenced to be "who we have become" by other spirits. Brain research shows us that we receive spiritual inputs in many ways. One is through the influences and teaching of other spirits (or people). Another is through the reading and memorizing of words written in a book.
The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life.
Here Jesus tells us that the words he speaks contain the Spirit we receive; our biology counts for nothing. Can modern brain research finally backup the scriptures on this important understanding? Can modern brain research finally prove that it's the words and experiences stored in our neurons that make us "who we are" and not that people are "born this way" ? A leading neuroscientist from Harvard and MIT seems to think so.
"We are our connectome". -Sebastian Seung PH.D., Harvard 1990 (watch TED video)
Sebastian argues that our individuality lies in our connectome, which is the complex wiring map of our neurons. So if we can understand how our connectome changes through the inputs we receive from our senses, then we can finally see where our spirit actually comes from and how to change it. Since you might not understand how electronic circuits work, or how software works, let's start by reviewing the biblical example that's been taught through scripture for thousands of years. Basically, our spirit grows the way a seed grows. We plant seeds in the soil, we water and even feed them and they grow to form trees. Trees produce fruit which contains more seeds, which fall back to the ground and grow more trees. Trees of the same kind. Over time we have a forest.
“This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God.
Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’
The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”
What's ironic about the depiction of the spirit in scripture is that neurons look and grow just like trees. (see photo)
So in the biblical parable sense, the soil represents our mind and the seeds are the words or teaching , stored in our neurons, that we obtained from other spirits (or trees). So, the words grow in our mind through connections between neurons that form circuits when we memorize them. It has been proven in neuroscience that the more you fire the same brain circuits the more those circuits grow and consume other less used circuits. Once a circuit becomes large enough it becomes a part of your spirit by the way it fires instinctively in response to stimuli from our environment. Like fruit falling from the tree, your spirit produces the fruit of your ways, which feeds and grows in the minds of others you associate with, especially your children.
Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.
Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person, do not associate with one easily angered, or you may learn their ways and get yourself ensnared
Since they would not accept my advice and spurned my rebuke, they will eat the fruit of their ways and be filled with the fruit of their schemes. For the waywardness of the simple will kill them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them but whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm.
It took me years to finally understand that Adam and Eve did not eat an apple, and the tree of life is not a physical fruit producing tree. With this new understanding we can finally see where our behaviors actually come from, and we can also analyze how our habits are affecting our health and the development of our children. We also realize how intelligent Christ was because we can now prove how this works in our mind.
Today with our new understanding of computers and cell phones we can now understand the flesh and the spirit in more technical terms. For instance, when you purchase a cell phone, the hardware is like our flesh. As we use the phone we create memories and data that create the spirit of our phone. If someone were to search through your phone they would see your spirit in the text messages, songs, friends, web searches, likes, etc. Now this data is more valuable to us than the phone itself because someone can really learn a lot about us if they had access to our data. Also, our data (or spirit) can be backed up to the cloud so if our phone (physical body) dies we can just get a new phone and restore our data (spirit) and have essentially our old phone back again. If our phone is not working well or gets a virus, we can perform a factory reset clearning the old spirit of our phone and making room for a new spirit to be reborn. The phone (like our body) is just a storage device for our data (spirit), and the cloud, well you can figure that one out.
So where exactly does our brain store our spirit and how can we change it? Well, much of our behavior can be traced to an area in the front of our brain called the Prefrontal Cortex. This area is much larger in humans than any other animal. It is in this area of the brain that humans store their good/evil beliefs and one of the last brain regions to develop which continues well into our twenties. Unlike animals, humans can be taught that anything can be considered good or evil, especially when they are young and naive, it all depends on who you trust, or in other words, which tree you eat from.
Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.
These values of right and wrong can be learned from a book, a teacher, a parent, etc. They can be formed from an experience or they can actually be secretly planted in us by the spirit of others who are familiar with the secret techniques of persuasion. That is, that humans are highly responsive to the emotions of others through a system in our brain referred to as mirror neurons. Mirror neurons can actually fire brain regions subconsciously and program rewards into the minds of the viewer (see Mirror). This proven brain programming technique was once referred to as witchcraft in ancient times because of the changes persuasive people could make in the spirit of others. The only way to protect someone, especially children, from this type of brain hacking is to teach them to be aware that there are wolves in sheep's clothing out there and they need to stay away from them. This kind of teaching is what Christianity was supposed to be about. The training of the mind to resist temptations.
“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.
Woe to those who call evil good and good evil
Keep on, then, with your magic spells and with your many sorceries, which you have labored at since childhood. Perhaps you will succeed, perhaps you will cause terror. All the counsel you have received has only worn you out! Let your astrologers come forward, those stargazers who make predictions month by month, let them save you from what is coming upon you.
Jude 17-19 A Call to Persevere
But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. They said to you, “In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.” These are the people who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit.
1 Corinthians 5:11
But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people.
Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.
All these warnings teach us that our spirit will be influenced by the people we associate with. It's in our mirror neurons, it's proven neuroscience and hi tech engineering.
2 Kings 2:15
The company of the prophets from Jericho, who were watching, said, “The spirit of Elijah is resting on Elisha.”
So with our new knowledge of mirror neurons and in light of all these biblical warnings, do you think that we are really born to be "who we are", through our flesh? Or rather, is not our spirit actually being programmed through learning and watching our parents, the media, our teachers and other influences without us even realizing what's happening to us? Now we can see how the spirit of one person actually influences (gives birth) to spiritual changes in another?
Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’
These famous words of Jesus his teaching that our physical body is born from our earthly human parents through the process of biology, but our spiritual body can be born or re-born from the spiritual influence of another. That spiritual birth requires the influence of another spirit. In other words, our spirit has nothing to do with our biology. Even more incredible is that our spirit can be programmed to want the things that groups of people are applauding.
"Paulus and his colleagues’ research suggests that our brains adapt to give us the hot reward injection for whatever is most prized among our peers." (see Gizmodo)
This is a very important topic in understanding the human spirit. Our natural instincts are to strive for the things that others tell us are important. Facial expressions, people nodding with approval and applauding all effect our reward system as do the opposite expressions of bitterness, mocking, booing etc. These techniques are used heavily by the media, commercials, award ceremonies, governments, etc. in an effort to control people. The way to control their affect on our spirit is through the true knowledge of evil and good that comes from God. This knowledge will protect us from pursuing a path that will not lead to sustainable peace and happiness. This is why we need to make the Lord our spiritual father and trust in him only. Here Jesus is teaching us that we have an earthly father and a spiritual father; they don't necessarily have to be the same.
for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.
Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live!
My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline, and do not resent his rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.
the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”
the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures regarding his Son, who as to his earthly life was a descendant of David, and who through the Spirit of holiness was appointed the Son of God
We can understand through Apostle Paul's use of the word "appointed", that he was not speaking about biology here, he is speaking about the our spiritual adoption to our new Father who words we will obey.
“I myself said, “‘How gladly would I treat you like my children and give you a pleasant land, the most beautiful inheritance of any nation.’ I thought you would call me ‘Father’ and not turn away from following me.
So can our new understanding of brain circuits back up this teaching of Christ? Can we really change? Can our spirit can be born again. Can we start all over by retraining our mind to have a new spiritual Father?
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.
Be careful to obey all these regulations I am giving you, so that it may always go well with you and your children after you, because you will be doing what is good and right in the eyes of the Lord your God.
These learned values can set the course of one's whole life.
The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.
Once we learn these values at a young age it can be hard to change them. Through brain research we can now see what happens in the mind when we meditate on the Lord's words and understand what he considers good and evil. We can see the reward circuits being formed when we trust and obey his Laws, and how obedience or rebellion can create behavior patterns that spread to other humans. We can also see the punishment circuits that are formed through our fear network which runs through the Amygdala. We can see how powerful these circuits are at controlling temptations and behaviors which prevent us from breaking those laws, protecting our relationships and improving our health. Finally we can now understand how this learned spirit becomes physically "wired" into the brain to modify our dopamine behavior network and control how we instinctively react to external stimuli. Now, instead of prescribing drugs, we can actually train people in how to rewire those unhealthy programs and install new ones that lead to better health and happiness. These are the programs that our brain was designed for, the knowledge was designed before the first living man was created, the programs were designed from the beginning to bond a man and woman together. The Bible calls these brain programs "Wisdom".
For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.
Woe to you experts in the law, because you have taken away the key to knowledge
No engineer designs an electronics system without a plan for how will operate, how it will process an input signal and produce an output signal. In electrical engineering we call this plan a schematic, while in computer engineering we call it a flow chart. The same understanding can be applied to the brain. In the New Testament, Christ began his ministry with a process of retraining the mind. He called this process being "Born Again". The very first step in this spiritual renewal Christ called Baptism. From our brain research we can now see how Baptism works, by the disconnecting (or cleansing) of old circuits (good vs bad instincts). Once our old instincts and habits have been removed (dies), then a new (reborn) spirit can be installed in it's place. This new spirit that Christ installed in his followers was the spirit of truth or the spirit received from obeying God's Laws.
I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.
Now if the spirit that we've wired into our minds truly comes from knowing God's word, then we can finally obtain his "Holy Spirit", the spirit that "lives in our connections". We have died to sin and now are slaves to righteous.
The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.
But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.
Our spirit does not enter into a person like a wind, but rather becomes formed over time through a process of learning and understanding, through our obedience to the law that we have received from God. The same law that was given through his servant Moses, since humans haven't changed in 3,000 years, the same laws still apply to protect our peace and well being. See over the generations the truth of the law was lost through false teachings as people stopped reading scripture and instead followed human traditions handed down by their ancestors.
Isaiah 29:13 / Matthew 15:9
The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught.
These traditions (human rules) may be profitable for priests or rulers in controlling people, but they cannot work in our brain to produce peace, love and good health. They can't protect us from being lured into a life of sin, a life of overworking and oppression due to our pride. Only the true spirit of God can accomplish that for he knows how our mind works. This is the spirit that we should be installing into our children when they are very young and receptive, the spirit that was "in" Christ which enabled him to heal the sick with his knowledge and their faith in him alone. The spirit that once protected our children from drug abuse, rebellion, obesity and sexual immorality through the knowledge and fear of God.
1 Corinthians 6:19
"Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?"
The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him— the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of might, the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord
We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father
Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask, “Who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” Nor is it beyond the sea, so that you have to ask, “Who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it.
This is the spirit that comes from heaven, the "word" that became flesh, the laws that were given to Moses by God, which he commanded all men to teach to their children for their protection. The words that we are to meditate on so that they become remember and wired in to form our new spirit. This is the spirit that Christ had to rediscover after all the priests had corrupted it. The spirit that leads to our peace, our love, our joy and our prosperity. The spirit that protects society from oppression and slavery tricked into working long hours serving the god of money and not the Lord.
The knowledge of how this spiritual network is formed in the brain's wiring and how it can change, is a most powerful way to understand scripture. Through it we can finally understand the healing power taught by Christ and his disciples. Most Christian's today don't understand the real Christ because the real Christ came to teach us to "change who we have become" and become obedient to God in order to be saved from the path that leads to death (hell).
But as for me, I am filled with power, with the Spirit of the Lord, and with justice and might, to declare to Jacob his transgression, to Israel his sin.
Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.
This is the spirit the founding fathers of America had when they signed the Declaration of Independence, which states that we are all united by the Laws of Nature's God. This is the spirit that led them to establish Harvard College to preserve this teaching. They knew the power that moral laws have to protect society by getting into our spirit. Transforming us through a rebirth of our spirit. Today however, the Biblical teaching to install this God fearing "protective" spirit in our children seems all but lost. Now, through brain research, we can finally see how important fear is in controlling behavior, in both a positive and negative way. By removing the understanding of fearing God or even the consequence of a good spanking, the adolescent brain is not capable of learning how to resist temptations. It simply cannot build the connections required to manage and control behavior. This societal change in our God fearing nature may likely be the primary cause of the recent teen opioid epidemic in the US and the rise of ADHD. Since most of the world's religions are based off the same Bible, why have most abandoned this highly important, protective style of teaching. After all, the Bible couldn't make it more clear. In the NIV translation of the Bible, the phrase "Fear the Lord" occurs 132 times.
Deuteronomy 31:12-13 (NIV)
"Assemble the people—men, women and children, and the foreigners residing in your towns—so they can listen and learn to fear the Lord your God and follow carefully all the words of this law. Their children, who do not know this law, must hear it and learn to fear the Lord your God as long as you live "
Isaiah 33:5-6 (NIV)
The Lord is exalted, for he dwells on high; he will fill Zion with his justice and righteousness. He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the Lord is the key to this treasure.
Reverse Engineering the Brain: Let's see how our spirit works
After six years of wiring up most of the circuits in the brain I have programmed myself to understand the flow of information and how it effects our emotion and ultimately our health; and I now understand the steps required to reprogram it. The key to all it arises from a human's large prefrontal cortex that allows them to modify their good/bad beliefs network; something that animals cannot do. However this network matures later in life, up to age 25 and older in some, and therefore leads many young adults into risky behavior. This network can be programmed with different beliefs that create different reward patterns with different health outcomes; which we will talk about in later chapters. First let's start by looking at the visual processing system, which is the most advanced of all the senses. The visual processing system is comprised of 4-6 billion neurons giving the visual processing system more processing power than 200 Apple A8 processors. Vision starts in the eye where light passes through the cornea, aqueous humor, pupil, lens, vitreous humor, then projects upside down on the retina which contains over 125 million rod and 7 million color cone photoreceptors. Light activates the photoreceptors causing them to fire, sending signals through a very sophisticated motion sensing circuit in the retina (see video of mouse retina), to the "only" one million output axons in the retina that make up the optic nerve. I say "only" because the input of over 130 million photoreceptors signals gets compressed down to only one million output signals right in the retina of the eye. The way this works is due to a processing circuit in the retina that is so advanced there isn't enough manpower to map it.(See: Eye Smarter than Scientists Believed). Within the circuitry in the eye is a multi layer motion processing system that detects the direction of movement of objects in our peripheral vision. Signals processed by 125 million rod photoreceptors detect objects in our peripheral vision coming into our path and relay coordinates through the optic nerve, not to the visual cortex where we see but rather to a region called the superior colliculus (SC). The SC has direct control of our eye muscles and moves the fovea (area of sharp vision) of the eye to the exact spot where the motion is detected so we can recognize a potential danger (example: a ball bouncing into the street while driving). A second motion layer in the retina detects objects in our peripheral vision that are getting larger rapidly, this layer fires the SC which also has direct connections to a spinal tract to control our limbs to make avoidance movements (example: ball coming at you). This highly sophisticated electronic circuit is what gives us our visual reflexes. The rest of the output from the eye contains signals from our 6 million color cones and travels down the optic nerve to the optic chiasm, where the left side and right side of each eye cross, then flow along the optic tract and connect to the one million neurons in the lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN) of the thalamus, where they are then wired to the calcarine fissure of the occipital lobe (back of the head) through over five hundred thousand optic radiations, and there, in the calcarine fissure is where you actually see, and not one pixel is out of place. This region is referred to as V1 of the visual system and from there the vision is split to two processing systems. The Dorsal Stream goes upward to the Parietal Lobe where our vision is used to coordinate the movement of the limbs, for instance picking something up. The Ventral Stream processes across the Occipital Lobe into the Temporal Lobe and this visual stream is used to identify what you see, like faces, facial expressions, objects, even naked body parts (yes it's true) and sends these images to higher processing areas for detection. The Temporal Lobe is strictly an identification area, there is no reward or emotion associated with recognition at this point. As the types of objects are filtered, for instant, the system detects a face, that part of the image is forward to both the superior temporal sulcus (STS) where facial expressions are read, and the fusiform face area (FFA) where the face is identified (if it's previously etched in memory). Recognition occurs if the object or face matches the pattern stored in the Perirhinal cortex (PRC) where it then passes that input forward to the Orbital Frontal Cortex (OFC) (front of head) through a white matter pathway called the uncinate fasciculus to process the stored emotional and reward value for that person or object. That signal is then passed forward through other areas like the amygdala to eventually arrive at the Hypothalamus, the body's control center, where it can modify your hormones (via the pituitary), digestion, hunger, heart rate, sexual behavior, and more.
Nudity Processing System
There is a nudity processing region in the occipito-temporal lobe that fires the insular, the extended amygdala, (BST) and then the medial preoptic area (MPOA) of the hypothalamus to initiate male sexual behavior. The BST and MPOA are sexually dimorphic meaning that they are different in males vs females (twice as big in males).
Here we used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to show that the amygdala and hypothalamus are more strongly activated in men than in women when viewing identical sexual stimuli. -Men and women differ in amygdala response to visual sexual stimuli
In males, neuroscience experiments show that nude or partially nude images of female body parts, are the most highly reactive areas of recognition and increase as clothing decreases.
Moreover, the N170 amplitude increased linearly as the amount of clothing decreased from full clothing via swimsuits to nude bodies. Strikingly, the N170 response to nude bodies was even greater than that to faces, and the N170 amplitude to bodies was independent of whether the face of the bodies was visible or not -The Naked Truth
These images process automatically through the brain circuitry of men to the MPOA which activates the paraventricular nucleus of hypothalamus (PVN) to release a neurotransmitter called oxytocin into the cerbrospinal fluid (CSF) and into the blood system via the Pituitary. When oxytocin was injected into the spinal column of rats, erection occurs (see studyA studyB). CFS is flushed and renewed every 6 hours. So, based on existing research, the way a woman dresses can trigger an awareness in both men and woman (higher in men) but can also produce physiological changes in men that can last up to 6 hours. If a man wants to prevent the reaction, he must look the other way because the effect has been shown to not be dependent on current task goals. This understanding can finally explain how men can be stimulated simply by the way a woman dresses, which could hours later lead to the desire to engage in a sexual act, view pornography or even commit a sexual assault.
"We conclude that nude human bodies have a privileged status in the visual processing system due to the affective arousal they trigger" -Additive effects of affective arousal and top-down attention on the event-related brain responses to human bodies
Facial Expression Processing System
What is interesting about the facial expression detection network in the STS is that it subconsciously fires our reward, punishment, and emotional processing circuits based on the perception of happy, sad, surprise, fear, anger and disgusted faces. Because of this network, we can be unconsciously programmed to want or even despise something that others are experiencing. Based on the look of someone's face our brain can release dopamine from the Ventral Tegmental Area (VTA) which wires in a "want" reward value for that object. It all depends on whether or not your trust circuit (see) is activated, which is required for learning. Negative rewards are wired through the habenula and rostromedial tegmental nucleus (RMT) based on negative experience or even viewing someone else's expression during punishment, like watching a sibling getting spanked. (See negative motivational value). The RMT turns off the VTA to eliminate the "wanting" feeling. Do you understand how highly engineered these circuits are? It would take someone with my level of training or someone who designs integrated circuits to understand it. Not an evolutionary biologist, scientist or doctor, what could they possibly know about electronics design.
"Reverse-engineering the connectivity and function in a neural network made of 50 different component types (Retina) is a daunting challenge. The task would be more plausible if each of the neuron types had a part number stamped on it, much as one finds for components in a radio." -Eye Smarter than Scientists Believed: Neural Computations in the Circuits of the Retina 2009 Plank Institute, Harvard University
All these recognition circuits are located in the same areas of the brain in all humans and if there is damage to say, the fusiform face area, the ability to recognize people by their face is lost.
"the very fact that the FFA lands in roughly the same location across subjects, along with its predominant lateralization to the right hemisphere, suggests some constraints on its development. Second, neuropsychological patients who selectively lose face-recognition abilities as a result of focal brain damage are rarely, if ever, able to relearn this ability, suggesting that the remaining visual cortex (which is adequate for visual recognition of non-face objects) cannot be trained on face recognition in adulthood" -The fusiform face area: a cortical region specialized for the perception of faces -2006 Nancy Kanwisher and Galit Yovel
From an engineering perspective, because our emotion and reward circuits are wired to our Amygdala (AMY) then to our Hypothalamus and our Locus coeruleus (LC) the stress center of the brain, it is probable that we don't need any prescription drugs to heal, but simply a change in the way we think and react. We've all heard of the placebo effect and research has shown that optimistic people live longer. (see: Optimists live longer and healther lives) The reason drugs work in the first place is because they activate or deactivate the chemical networks already in place in our body. Our hormones are a type of wireless messenger network between our brain and our cells that's called the endocrine system. Your Hypothalamus, which controls your pituitary gland, is more than capable of producing all the chemicals (hormones and neurotransmitters) you need, but can also produce too much or too little leading to stress, anxiety, inflammation, cancer, reproductive disorders and poor health.
"Negative emotions and anxiety result in the up-regulation of serum interleukin (IL)-6, which in turn further activates the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and enhances the release of catecholamines and glucocorticoids" - Serum correlates of the placebo effect in Irritable Bowel Syndrome
By mapping the brain we can see how our behavior and the behavior of others, can control our endocrine system. By changing the way we think and react we can change our health, without the need for any prescription drugs. We can now understand how important it is to lay the proper foundation of emotional circuitry in our children during their development years, and how changes in society can lead to an increase of behavior disorders including ADHD and even Autism. You don't simply feed a child and watch them grow like a plant. Circuits are being wired up to record the emotional responses to stimuli, with each new experience. Every new recognizable object becomes wired up to trigger a lasting emotional response, which in some experiences can lead to lifelong phobias. All children go through critical growth periods that can lead to serious emotional development issues lasting into adulthood and beyond. This is why raising children in a safe, nurturing environment is so important and more and more couples are being forced to use day care (see Experience and the Developing PFC ). In February 2012, the German weekly publication Der Spiegel reported in its cover story that Dr Leon Eisenberg (many consider "the father of ADHD") spoke of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in his final interview, seven months before his death, that ADHD was the prime example of a "fabricated disease".
“ADHD is a prime example of a fabricated disorder,” Eisenberg said. “The genetic predisposition to ADHD is completely overrated.” Instead, child psychiatrists should more thoroughly determine the psychosocial reasons that can lead to behavioral problems, Eisenberg said. Are there fights with parents, are there are problems in the family? Such questions are important, but they take a lot of time, Eisenberg said, adding with a sigh: “Prescribe a pill for it very quickly.” - published in German in Der Spiegel magazine in 2012 (see Snopes and wikipedia)
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