Wednesday, March 13, 2002

GARY FARBER IS MY AROUSAL CENTER: Gary finally responds to the ranks of the ignorant who have no idea what an amygdala is. He's far too modest to go into detail about such a sensitive portion of his anatomy, but I have no such qualms:

1. An almond-shaped neuro structure involved in producing and responding to nonverbal signs of anger, avoidance, defensiveness, and fear. 2. A small mass of gray matter that inspires aversive cues, such as the freeze reaction, sweaty palms, and the tense-mouth display. 3. A primeval arousal center, originating in early fishes, which is central to the expression of negative emotions in man.

Usage: Many gestures reflect the amygdala's turmoil. In an anxious meeting, e.g., we may unconsciously flex our arms, lean away, or angle away from colleagues who upset us. Lip, neck, and shoulder muscles may tense as the amygdala activates brain-stem circuits designed to produce protective facial expressions (see, e.g., TENSE-MOUTH) and protective postures (see, e.g., BOW and CROUCH). The amygdala also prompts releases of adrenaline and other hormones into the blood stream, thus stepping-up an avoider's response and disrupting the control of rational thought.

There ya go.

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