Harun Yahya

The region responsible for managing our fear and Adventuresomeness: ''amygdala''


Almighty Allah created the spiritual structure of people very differently. Every person has different interests and different social relations. For some people, it is exciting to jump into the sea from 20 meters high  and for some it is exciting to sky glide and for some it is simply to sit at home and read books…

Why do the activities that people are excited about or like change?

Why are some of us active and very social with very many friends and some of us bland with few   friends and  reluctant to  establish  social relations?

Which organ governs the different spiritual structures of human beings technically?

The “amygdala” region inside our brain is an area of the brain   responsible for our various behaviors such as fear, trust and social relations. The amygdala is an almond-shaped mass, located roughly  under the limbic circle in people, on the brain stem and is composed of structures connected to one another. It is made up of two lobes, one on the right and the other on the left. This region determines what we fear by catching the signals around us and helps us decide whether to react to this fear.

Our Brain’s Amygdala Region is the Source of Emotional Reactions

Almighty Allah transfers 80% of the data that belongs to the outside world  into our brain through our sight organ, the eyes. The image, which is focused on the retina by the lenses are turned into electrical signals and then transmitted to the brain by optical nerves at a time interval of  one in ten thousandth of a second. The signals gathered from both eyes contain all of the characteristics of the object being looked at. The brain combines the images that come from both eyes as a single image. It differentiates the structure and color of the object and determines its distance. In short, it is not the eye itself that sees the objects, but it is the brain. The electrical signals coming from the eyes reach the primer sight region at the back of the brain. This center is 2.5 millimeters thick and a few centimeters wide. It contains one hundred million neurons (nerve cells) in six layers. The signal first comes to the forth layer; after it is analyzed here, it spreads to other layers. In this center, every neuron takes signals from one thousand neurons and sends signals to almost one thousand other neurons.

While visual signals are transmitted from the retina to the thalamus region of our brain via the nerves, the brain determines the reactions for the image and if the reaction is emotional, the amygdala is referenced  as the source of emotional repertoire. If the potential of the data coming from the retina (for example, a shocking incident) is positive, this time some of the data that reaches to the thalamus directly goes to the amygdala and causes the emotional reaction to begin. At this point, there is no time for the visual cortex to know what is going on. After this, the only thing the cortex can do is to form the reactions the amygdala commands.

Could it Be that the Amygdala Region in the Brain is the Center of Individual Behaviors?

Scientific research confirmed that the amygdala region is responsible for personal behavior. When we are exposed to  danger, the brain is warned by questions such as “is this something I hate? Does this hurt me? Is this something I am afraid of?” and if the answer to these questions is “yes”, the amygdala produces a sudden reaction in the form of a nervous signal and transmits a crisis message to the rest of the brain. The amygdala has a rich communication network within the brain. In an emergency situation, it controls and governs a big part of the brain, including the rational mind. The structure in the limbic system is the expert of learning and remembering processes and the amygdala is the expert of emotional situations.

Even though it is known that our emotional reactions and fears are controlled by the amygdala region, all the functions of the amygdala  are not known. Scientists are not yet able to answer these questions:

How does the brain distinguish emotional images and know to send it to the brain?

Why are the risks, fear thresholds and social choices of people different, even though the amygdala has almost the same structure in every human being?

Scientists have based these changes on a gene called “Neurod2”.  Experiments carried out on guinea pigs found that when they decreased the gene in the amygdala region of the brain, the guinea pigs began to take greater risks as their fear emotions were decreased. This gene also exists in people, but could this gene and its genetic coding determine whether we take risks or not, our choice of the number of friends, our hobbies and tastes? In other words, could a small piece of flesh inside the brain determine our personality and emotional choices? What is the real thing that determines our feelings?

The Source of Our Individual Behaviors Is Not the Amygdala, But the Soul

Our senses are formed by electrical signals. So is it our brain, which interprets these signals and turns them into a friend we know, a beautiful flower, an endless view, our mother, children playing on the street, fear, joy and choosing our friends?

Technically, it is true that signals are interpreted in the brain. Materialists start out from this point, and go on to claim that we are nothing more than neurons in the brain and the world we live in is a result of the communication of these neurons with one another. They defend that the being who thinks, smiles, gets happy, recognizes a person and can make a comment is “a mass of neurons” in the words of evolutionist physicist Francis Crick.(http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/reith2003/lecture1.shtml) http://www.harunyahya.org/evrim/ruh/ruh04.html - 83

For a materialist, it is not important how a person thinks and makes reason out of senses. It is not important, because he has no explanation for these. According to him, everything must be examined from a material view. However, this is a great lie told to draw people away from faith in Allah. This is because the owner of a person’s consciousness is not his brain, but rather  his soul. The being that says “I see” for the image inside his brain, that says “I hear” for the sounds inside his brain and that is conscious of his own existence is the soul which Allah in His infinite wisdom bestowed onto man. The materialist mentality abstains that this truth is known and recognized. The basic cause of the claims of “consciousness has not yet been discovered” by scientists is this. The certain existence of the soul, the truth that Allah is the One Who gives man the soul destroys all of their materialist beliefs and claims. Even though they try to mark this as “unexplained”, it is an open and certain fact that the soul is the source of consciousness, and it is the reality that belongs to man, the being that says “I am me”. Allah revealed in the Qur’an that He first created man out of clay and then He breathed His Soul into him:

When your Lord said to the angels, ‘I am creating a human being out of dried clay formed from fetid black mud. When I have formed him and breathed My Spirit into him, fall down in prostration in front of him!’” (Surat al-Hijr, 28 - 29)

The amygdala, which is located deep inside the brain and in the shape of an almond, is a region that helps us understand other people’s emotions. The research shows that it has an important role especially in fear but scientists think that it is also related with several mental events.

For example, the amygdala of people with the disorder known as  autism, which is about avoiding social relations and not understanding others’ emotions, contains neurons less than the normal number. However, it is no doubt impossible that a structure made up of fat, water and proteins could form human consciousness and turn the person into a being that senses people, thinks, gets happy, becomes proud, gets excited and establishes social relations. It is the “human soul” that can see without the eye, hear without the ears and think without the brain.

A person is a being that has concepts such as honor, love, respect, friendship, loyalty, and honesty through his soul, that can express an opinion and oppose other opinions. Just as a single cell at the tip of your finger cannot have qualities such as thinking, making a decision, being sad or happy, it is also impossible that neurons in the brain have these metaphysical traits. This is an obvious truth, which all people can easily see and understand without the need for scientific evidence. Almighty Allah points out the subject of the soul in one verse of the Qur’an as such:

"They will ask you about the soul. Say: ‘The soul is my Lord’s concern. You have only been given a little knowledge." (Surat al-Isra’, 85)

What Happens If the Amygdala Region Does Not Exist?

The life of a young person whose amygdala is removed changes to a considerable extent by turning into an inadequacy to evaluate the emotional meaning of events and an emotional blindness.

When he has a personality that likes being with people and talks very well, he prefers to stay idle towards his friends, even his mother and father, and prefers to live all alone and far from everyone.

He is insensitive towards the pains his close ones go through.

All passion, fears and sorrow are replaced with a great silence and senselessness and he has forgotten to even cry.

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