Polyvagal Theory

Polyvagal Theory doesn’t exactly fit into brain networks…but it does.  I’d like for you to stretch the network concept to include any system with a bunch of interacting nodes.  Polyvagal Theory explains the role of the vagus nerve (cranial nerve 10) in your social cognition.  In a nutshell, the vagal nerve has a dorsaland ventral […]

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Dorsal Attention Network (DAN)

The Dorsal Attention Network increases attention to external stimuli based on goals and activated mental representations by increasing the salience of goal relevant stimuli. Neurohypnotic bonus   Self-Regulatory Depletion Enhances Neural Responses to Rewards and Impairs Top Dopamine supports coupling of attention-related networks Deconstructing the architecture of dorsal and ventral attention systems with dynamic causal modelling […]

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The Salience Network

The Salience network is made up of the anterior cingulate cortex and the insula.  Together they coordinate to monitor the conditions in the body for homeostasis (insula) from temperature, to pH, to pain, to hormonal discomfort and notify the anterior cingulate cortex.  You may recall that the ACC handles conflict.  Well, those would be the […]

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The Central Executive Network(CEN)

The Fronto-parietal Central Executive Network (CEN) handles inhibition, task switching, and updating.  It inhibits the default mode network, engages your conscious brain to think and maintains attention on a prioritized task.   It’s helpful to think of it as active when you put effort forth to keep your mind from wandering during a goal directed task. […]

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What is the Default Mode Network?

The default mode network (DMN) is a network of brain components active when during daydreaming, self-generated thought, and when not attending to outside stimuli.  Some neuroscientists theorize that the DMN is involved with the Freudian ego functions.   There is increasing evidence that moderation of the default mode network is the mechanism of hypnosis effects. […]

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What is Orexin?

Orexin, also known as hypocretin is all about energy, metabolism, and arousal.  Without it you may suffer from narcolepsy or drop fits when you laugh.  Some label it as being at the intersection of consciousness.  The best way to think of this is that your heart rate and breathing rate affect how you feel emotionally […]

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What is Oxytocin?

Oxytocin, often called the snuggle hormone, is better thought of as the neuromodulator of the attachment system.  It is associated with group bonding, empathy through narrative, breast-feeding, and that warm-fuzzy feeling after orgasm.  The dark side of oxytocin, sometimes called the mother-bear effect, is outgroup intolerance, and exclusivity.  The divider between the two effects us […]

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What is Cortisol?

Cortisol is your stress hormone.  It increases in your body to organize fight, flight, faint behavior.  This includes shutting down any systems not immediately needed for escape or combat, shutting down your immune system, and switching your brain to acting based on habits. On a molecular level, a cortisol cascade shut down the connection that […]

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Neuroscience Series

Polyvagal Theory

Polyvagal Theory doesn’t exactly fit into brain networks…but it does.  I’d like for you to stretch the network concept to include any system with a bunch of interacting nodes.  Polyvagal Theory explains the role of the vagus nerve (cranial nerve 10) in your social cognition.  In a nutshell, the vagal nerve has a dorsaland ventral […]

Neuroscience Series

Dorsal Attention Network (DAN)

The Dorsal Attention Network increases attention to external stimuli based on goals and activated mental representations by increasing the salience of goal relevant stimuli. Neurohypnotic bonus   Self-Regulatory Depletion Enhances Neural Responses to Rewards and Impairs Top Dopamine supports coupling of attention-related networks Deconstructing the architecture of dorsal and ventral attention systems with dynamic causal modelling […]

Neuroscience Series

The Salience Network

The Salience network is made up of the anterior cingulate cortex and the insula.  Together they coordinate to monitor the conditions in the body for homeostasis (insula) from temperature, to pH, to pain, to hormonal discomfort and notify the anterior cingulate cortex.  You may recall that the ACC handles conflict.  Well, those would be the […]

Neuroscience Series

The Central Executive Network(CEN)

The Fronto-parietal Central Executive Network (CEN) handles inhibition, task switching, and updating.  It inhibits the default mode network, engages your conscious brain to think and maintains attention on a prioritized task.   It’s helpful to think of it as active when you put effort forth to keep your mind from wandering during a goal directed task. […]

Neuroscience Series

What is the Default Mode Network?

The default mode network (DMN) is a network of brain components active when during daydreaming, self-generated thought, and when not attending to outside stimuli.  Some neuroscientists theorize that the DMN is involved with the Freudian ego functions.   There is increasing evidence that moderation of the default mode network is the mechanism of hypnosis effects. […]

Neuroscience Series

What is Orexin?

Orexin, also known as hypocretin is all about energy, metabolism, and arousal.  Without it you may suffer from narcolepsy or drop fits when you laugh.  Some label it as being at the intersection of consciousness.  The best way to think of this is that your heart rate and breathing rate affect how you feel emotionally […]

Neuroscience Series

What is Oxytocin?

Oxytocin, often called the snuggle hormone, is better thought of as the neuromodulator of the attachment system.  It is associated with group bonding, empathy through narrative, breast-feeding, and that warm-fuzzy feeling after orgasm.  The dark side of oxytocin, sometimes called the mother-bear effect, is outgroup intolerance, and exclusivity.  The divider between the two effects us […]

Neuroscience Series

What is Cortisol?

Cortisol is your stress hormone.  It increases in your body to organize fight, flight, faint behavior.  This includes shutting down any systems not immediately needed for escape or combat, shutting down your immune system, and switching your brain to acting based on habits. On a molecular level, a cortisol cascade shut down the connection that […]

Neuroscience Series

What is Serotonin?

Serotonin is about creating a subjective sense of resource availability.  In lower organisms, this could mean food.  In higher organisms, especially social organisms, this translates into availabilities for mating opportunities, socioeconomic position/dominance, and mood.  It also plays a role in appetite and sleep.   It is derived from tryptophan.  In addition to its role in […]

Neuroscience Series

What is Dopamine? Reward, Learning, and Flexibility

Dopamine is the neurotransmitter responsible for reward-based learning. It’s involved in compulsive behaviors and wanting (anticipation, craving) but not liking (pleasure).  Dopamine is made in the Substantia Nigra. dopamine pathway problems include addiction, Alzheimer’s disease, and schizophrenia.   My favorite explanation of the function of dopamine is the following: “We suggest that interposed between input […]