reply to post by KellyPrettyBear
I'll check him out
Personally, I study trauma and the effects it has on the body and mind. Theres a new field growing around this research called 'affective
neuroscience', which combines knowledges of the bodies basic autonomic mechanisms and how it influences our ability to confidently and relaxingly
engage others socially. In trauma, there's a breakdown of the nucleus ambiguus, which is the ventral tract of the vagus nerve. This theory, called
the polyvagal theory, posits that the bifurcation noticed by neurobiologists of the vagus nerve represents a mammalian accretion to the
parasympathetic dominant dorsal tract of the vagus nerve.
Basically, reptiles require far less energy than we do to live. There metabolisms are many times slower than mammals; additionally, they don't have
any striated muscles controlling their faces, and so don't convey different types of emotion. Mammals, conversely, are far more social and so require
an evolutionary explanation for how they are able to be this way. the polyvagal theory does this by positing a neural tract that mediates cortical
(conscious) connection with the body; this occurs via the dorsal vagus.
Mammals put a "break" on parasympathetic feeling (the dorsal 'reptilian' vagus) when they need to utilize quick energy bursts. The endocrine
system is too slow for this; the nucleus ambiguus co-opts the sub-diaphragmatic afferents controlled by the dorsal vagus in order to increase
In short, this is how we are able to go from a relaxed state to a reactive state so quickly and efficiently. In trauma, the myelinated tract - the
nucleus ambiguus - becomes dysfunctional. The metabolically conservative reptilian vagus prevents connection with the cortex - the source of the
anxiety - by heightening parasympathetic activity; a nearby site in the brain stem called the PAG (periaquductal grey) then releases endogenous
opioids that dull mind-body connection.
I'm describing all this because the psychologies that are being developed essentially find solutions and methods that emphasize basic core principals
discovered in the East. The need to be aware of the body, for example, is a staple of yoga. The need to avoid objectifying yourself i.e. getting
locked in self identities, is found in many eastern religions as well.
If you're interested in this literature (as an intellectual exercise, it's exciting stuff), check out Allan Schore (affect regulation), Steven
Porges, Laurence Heller, Jake Prakpt, as well as theories behind somatic therapy.
With the direction affective neuroscience is taking - leading figures hold positions in major universities worldwide - I can definitely see this
entering our school systems, 15-20 from now, given enough time to get people to think more maturely about the need to effectively socialize more kids
than now. We can do this by emphasizing bodily feeling states. When kids bully, they do so largely because they are unconsciously
their emotions. By bringing into awareness bodily sensation, you simultaneously strengthen awareness of emotional feeling (the two are neurally
intertwined). What prevents mean behavior other than an acute awareness of how that other person would feel if I mistreated him?
Hope this comes to pass one day.