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The book "Emotional life of the brain" / Company's blog Publishing house "Peter" / SurprizingFacts

 image Hello everyone! We have recently released a novelty from Richard Davidson – one of the leading modern brain researchers, and his approach to psychotypes and human emotions is really innovative. Each person is a unique composition of six basic emotional "styles" in special proportions, so the psychotype of a person is just as individual as his fingerprints. Every emotional style is associated with certain chemical processes in the brain, and thanks to this fact, we can control and develop our brains by controlling this or that emotional style. With the help of this technique, you can not only develop as a person, but also treat depression, autism and other mental ailments. In the book, Davidson and Begley describe their approach in detail and available, so you can use it yourself.

How does the emotional type develop

When I first discovered the neurobiological basis for the six aspects of the emotional type, I assumed that they are innate and permanent, being established as soon as the child comes into this world. Like other scientists (as well as the newly-born parent of Amelie's daughter, born in 1981, and the son of Seth, born in 1987), I noted and was surprised that the newborn is a separate person (this is noticeable if you have more than one child ). Some babies are curious and behave at ease, others are fussy and anxious. Amelie was born cheerful and friendly, she started talking early and chatted with pleasure: she gave us a report about the world from her stroller, and by the time she was eight she preferred to sit separately from me and my wife when we were flying on an airplane. By the end of the flight, she knew the whole story of her neighbor's life. Seth, unlike her, looked cute and charming, but at the same time was inclined to first probe the soil, and not plunge into the situation immediately.

Emotional DNA

To put it briefly, the children, it seems, are already coming to the world with temperament and emotional type. It is assumed that this can be determined by the genes that they inherit from their parents. After all, newborns have not yet received any life experience that could affect their emotional type, which leaves only genes as the presumed determinants. Indeed, studies comparing identical (identical) twins with dizygotic (nonidentical) provide convincing evidence that genes are pushing us to be shy or arrogant, risk-prone or cautious, happy or unhappy, anxious or calm, focused or Scattered. These studies are based on the assumption that identical twins originate from a single fertilized egg and therefore have identical gene sequences – those tapes of chemical "letters" denoted as A, T, C and G, which decode what each gene does (or, If more precisely, which protein the gene encodes). Nonidentical twins come from two different eggs fertilized with two different spermatozoa, and therefore possess the same degree of genetic affinity as half-brothers and sisters who are not twins, sharing about half of the genes in various forms. (Many of the human genes are presented in only one form, so it does not matter to what extent two people are related to each other – they have the same copies of these genes.) Identical twins are thus twice as similar genetically as the half-brothers Or sisters who are not twins, and in this case should be twice as close as nonidentical twins, by any signs that have a genetic component. In other words, when the similarity between identical twins over a particular feature is greater than between nonidentical ones, this is a convincing sign that this attribute has a genetic basis.

Therefore, the twin studies were a golden dwelling for thinking about the genetic basis of temperament, personality and emotional type. Among the traits that are more similar to identical twins than nonidentical (and therefore have a deeper genetic basis) are shyness, sociability, emotionality, a tendency to feel miserable, adaptive, impulsive, and a balance of positive and negative emotions. Although this may seem like a strange set, I chose these traits, because each one reflects one aspect of the emotional type.

• Shyness and sociability are related to where you are in the aspect of social intuition.
• Emotionality refers to sustainability and prediction.
• The tendency to feel unhappy refers to sustainability.
• The ability to adapt reflects sensitivity to the situation.
• Impulsivity is related to where you are in the aspect of mindfulness (if you are unfocused, it makes you more impulsive).

In most cases, positive and negative emotions are a product of sustainability and prediction aspects.

For all these features, the genetic contribution varies from twenty to sixty percent, that is, the difference between one person and another, as for these features, ranges from about one-fifth to three-fifths. Whether this seems to you high or low, depends on your point of view. A convinced genetic determinist will consider everything below a hundred percent as a suspiciously low level, and those who think that we come to the world as a clean sheet can think that even twenty percent is incredibly much. To give you some guidelines, I will give an example: sickle-cell anemia is inherited in a hundred percent of cases, while the hereditary belonging to any religion is close to zero.

In our time – the age of genetics – many people began to believe, That each feature is a product of inherited DNA, which is clearly not true. Let's take schizophrenia. This disease contains a strong genetic component: when one of the identical twins develops schizophrenia, the likelihood that the same will happen with the second, fifty to fifty (therefore about identical twins and say that they are fifty percent "matched" in schizophrenia). Depression has a more modest genetic component, and it seems that it depends on sex: women inherit depression in about forty percent of cases, while men are about thirty. It's interesting that how quickly you can calm a child seems to have little genetic component, and my own studies of twins show that anxiety disorders have a much lower genetic component than depression. Even in those features that possess some genetic component, genes are not the most important thing. A genetic predisposition can direct a child along a path that leads to a particular emotional type, but certain experiences and surroundings can help a child to turn off from it.

Born to the Shy?

The pioneer in studying the innate foundations of temperament was Jerry Kagan from Harvard, whom I met during my first year in graduate school. Unsurpassed scientist, Kagan was (and remains) keen on researching how the child's temperament develops. Whenever I or my friends of the aspirant passed him in the classrooms of the psychology department, he could slyly ask: "Has nature opened the veil of secrecy before you?" In order to encourage us to discover what determines who the child ultimately turns out to be. These were the days when we could smoke in our office, and Jerry's smoking pipe left an unmistakable fragrant signature in his office. Kagan is a pioneer in the study of behavioral inhibition, which is essentially a form of anxiety.

This term means a tendency to block in response to something unusual or unfamiliar that was discussed in the context of the monkey research in Chapter 4. In On a daily basis, this largely looks like shyness. Kagan was the first scientist who systematically investigated the correlation of behavioral and biological individual differences in young children with features of their temperament.

The main conclusion he made after years of study of many children. Their behavioral inhibition was evaluated when they were small, and classified either as inhibition of behavior or as relaxation. Then the same was assessed when the subjects reached twenty years of age. Kagan asked parents to describe their children and evaluate according to the scale of inhibition of behavior; I watched the children myself, and also did a functional MRI of their brain. The latter showed that young people, who were ranked as strongly closed, demonstrated increased activity of amygdala when they were their babies (unlike those who were uninhibited). Amygdala plays a key role in feelings of fear and anxiety that appear in response to threatening events in the environment. The increased activity of amygdala reflects an important characteristic of behavioral inhibition in children and adults: they are extremely vigilant, constantly in search of potential threats and sources of danger. They can shudder at the slightest noise that other people think is harmless. Kagan's conclusions were as follows: inhibition of behavior is an amazingly stable character trait. A shy nine-year-old becomes a shy sixteen year old, who turns into a shy adult. Since Kagan discovered what seemed to be the cause of this phenomenon – increased activity of amygdala – and since at the time this work was done (80-90s), most scientists believed that inherited genes form the structure and functions of the brain , The immutability of behavioral inhibition has become part of pop culture. A typical title: "Born Shy Shy Forever."

A few years ago, when it was said that there was a genetic basis for the emotional type (and generally for any symptom, psychological or physical), something else was implied: this A sign with us for life, this is an inheritance with which we will go to the grave. In the end, the genetically conditioned form of our nose or the color of our eyes does not change (unless we take into account the trauma and the interference of the plastic surgeon). Also, genetically conditioned psychological traits, such as the emotional type, will not change (according to popular opinion).

But then the wave of revolution swept through the genetics, and the dogma "genetic means immutable" was overthrown as thoroughly and dramatically as A statue of Saddam Hussein in Baghdad. Scientists have made two striking discoveries, related to each other: the genetic trait will manifest itself or not manifest depending on the environment in which the child grows, and the acting gene is a double helix that curls through each of our cells – can be turned on or off depending on the environment From the experience that we possess. Popularly speaking, this means that there is no single factor – neither genetic nor empirical – that would be responsible for the kinds of emotional type. But this is as obvious and indisputable as the fact that the sun is hotter. Something much more interesting is happening. Contrary to popular belief that if something is genetically conditioned, then it's with us for life (after all, how can we change our DNA?), Hereditary traits can be significantly altered by the resulting upbringing, learning and experience.

"For more information on the book, see the website of the publishing house

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