The Amygdala – part of the limbic system: do we really decide?

[Last Update: 11th September 2017]

The Amygdala is an area in our brain, which is important for survival. It is responsible for emotions such as anxiety, aggression, etc. Living beings like the humans or a monkey as an experiment object, one can external stimulate this area so that test object can suffer under fear or provoke an aggressive behavior.

From an evolutionary point of view, it is one of the first developed areas of our brain. The area such as the prefrontal cortex have only developed in the course of evolution. This area is decisive for the character of a person. Even by humans where the prefrontal cortex is well developed, the stimulation of the amygdala can lead to abnormal reactions and actions, of course the stimulation of other areas is necessary too. But what will happen to people where the prefrontal cortex is not well developed like e.g. criminals in the jail?

In an experiment with leeches, it has been found that a change of direction can be induced in a controlled manner by stimulating the synapses of the nervous system of the leech. Analogously, this can also be done with humans, by stimulating the motor cortex.

The philosophical question now arises:
Do we still decide and act or are we like a marionette? For the law, it can and must be decided clearly.

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