Professional Development

6 - Anatomy of the emotional impulse
Previously, we referred to the discovery of certain parts of the brain that Aristotle did not know about, and which really took centuries for us to discover, owing to the impossibility of studying a functioning brain by aggressive methods. This type of research reached an end when Santiago Ramón y Cajal discovered all that could be known about the functioning of the brain by means of aggressive research techniques. The development of techniques such as magnetic resonance and others have made it possible to study and learn how the brain works in vivo. Researchers have since then identified an organ which they named the amygdala, which is responsible for following through with our impulses or for keeping us from acting until we receive input not directly from the impulse, but from the brain organs in charge of our "rationality," as we may call it. We won't go into in-depth medical subjects or workings of the brain. Rather, this is just a matter of simply being aware of to what extent the amygdala is capable of identifying an emotional situation; and whether the impulse that triggers our behavior - our reaction to the input - must be retained and wait until we receive information through the process of reasoning. Throughout this presentation, we will constantly emphasize an idea which we judge to be fundamental: this is not about nullifying our emotions, but rather being able to understand them. By "control" we do not mean "annul;" we mean directing our behavior by taking into consideration other factors, other than only emotions. In any case, if we reach the conclusion that our behavior must be guided by our emotion, so let it be. Again, it must be emphasized that it is not a matter of nullifying emotions.