What Is The Connection Between The Brain and Behavior?

While we can not control all of the factors that influence our brain activity, it’s important to know how they can affect our behavior. By understanding the brain, we can understand why we behave the way we do – and even find ways to change our behavior for the better.

The brain controls everything we do, from simple tasks like blinking our eyes to more complex activities like playing a sport or solving a problem. Dysfunction in the brain can lead to behavioral issues. Knowing how the brain works and exploring the connection between the brain and behavior, can help us understand our actions, reactions, patterns, and habits.

Understanding The Brain

The brain is a complex and fascinating organ. It is responsible for everything from our essential bodily functions to our highest cognitive abilities. Brain science has made tremendous strides in understanding how the brain works in recent years. We now know that the brain is made up of billions of interconnected neurons that communicate through electrical impulses. These impulses travel along the neuron’s axon and are then passed on to other cells at the synapse. This communication process allows us to perceive the world around us, think and feel emotions, and move our bodies. In short, the brain is responsible for everything we do, especially how we behave.

Understanding Behavior

Even though there is a lot of debate surrounding the question of what exactly constitutes human behavior, behavior is the brain’s way of responding to the environment. As a result, behavior can be defined as anything we do that others can observe. To understand what counts as human behavior, we need to consider how our brain influences our actions.

The brain plays a vital role in governing our behavior. It is responsible for sending out signals that tell our muscles what to do, and it also helps to regulate our emotions and thoughts. Without the brain, we would simply be unable to behave in the complex and coordinated way we do.

So, when we talk about human behavior, we are referring to how our brain causes us to act. This includes voluntary and involuntary actions, as well as emotional reactions and thought processes. All of these things come together to create the complex tapestry of human behavior.

Connection Between The Brain and Behavior

Scientists believe that three main factors influence brain activity and, as a result, our behavior: genetics, environment, and epigenetics. Our genes play a role in determining how our brain develops and functions. The environments we spend time in and our experiences throughout our lives can also shape our brain and influence behavior. Epigenetics refers to how genes are turned on or off in response to environmental cues.

Emotions also help connect the brain and behavior. As the control center for the body, the brain receives input from the senses. The input received helps regulate all of the body’s functions, including our emotions and behavior.

Even though we can not control all of the factors that influence our brain activity, it’s important to know how they can affect our behavior. By understanding the brain, we can understand why we behave the way we do – and even find ways to change our behavior for the better.

Parts Of The Brain That Help Determine Behavior

The brain is a complex organ that controls everything from movement and sensation to thoughts and emotions. However, certain areas of the brain are responsible for specific functions. While different parts of the brain are responsible for different tasks, they all work together to determine our behavior. For instance, the amygdala is a small region of the brain that plays a role in fear and aggression. However, it doesn’t work in isolation; instead, it communicates with other parts of the brain to help determine how we respond to a particular situation. In other words, our behavior results from a complex interaction between different brain regions.

Some of the most common areas of the brain that influence behavior include:

  • Prefrontal cortex. This part of the brain helps us control our impulses and make rational decisions. When we think logically and exhibit self-control, we are relying on our prefrontal cortex.
  • Amygdala. This part of the brain helps us respond to things in our environment that trigger an emotional response. The amygdala is most likely involved when we behave emotionally, especially out of fear and anger.
  • Neocortex. This brain region helps us plan and solve complex problems. When we’re focused, concentrating, and using deductive reasoning, we’re engaging the neocortex.
  • Hypothalamus. This brain region regulates hunger, thirst, and mood. When we have mood swings and eat food, we’re engaging this part of the brain. This brain area also helps determine how we dress since it plays a role in regulating body temperature.

How The Brain Determines Rational and Irrational Behavior

Despite our best efforts, we all have moments when our emotional, irrational self outweighs logical and rational thinking. This happens because even though the brain is one organ, it often operates as though it’s divided into two separate parts: the emotional, downstairs brain, and the upstairs, rational brain.

The downstairs or emotional part of the brain causes us to react quickly without thinking. Although this can lead to impulsive behavior, it can also help us survive life-threatening situations. This part of the brain helps keep us safe, manages our bodily functions, and makes sure our needs are met. However, relying on this part of the brain outside of threatening experiences can cause us to behave emotionally, irrationally, and without thinking.

The upstairs part of the brain helps us solve problems, think rationally, make decisions, exhibit self-control, and plan. Since this part of the brain isn’t fully developed until the mid-twenties, it grows stronger through repeated experiences.

Although these two parts of the brain work separately, they inform each other. The emotional brain “tells” the rational brain information when we need to breathe deeply, engage our reflexes, and increase or decrease our temperature. The rational brain helps us handle and make sense of information that triggers our emotions.

Better Brain Health, Better Behavior

No one has perfect behavior all of the time, but improving the health of our brains can help us behave better more consistently. As we continue to learn more about the brain, we are able to develop new and innovative ways to help those suffering from behavioral issues. If you or someone you know has a behavior issue, contact us for information on how neuroscience can help. With continued research and understanding of the brain-behavior connection, there is hope for a brighter future for all of those affected by behavioral issues. We have helped many people find relief from their struggles and we would be happy to help you too.

Innovative, Evidence-Based Therapies

Because mental health and addiction concerns are so often interconnected, we utilize research-based approaches with evidence-based outcomes that promote overall healing and recovery.

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Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)
This low-impact magnetic stimulation activates neurons inside the brain, relieving symptoms associated with depression and anxiety.

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qEEG/Brain Mapping
Using brain scanning and readings, we create a map of our patients' brains, helping us develop more targeted and effective treatments.

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Neurofeedback
This process assists patients in visualizing their own brain functionality through continuous EEG readings.

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Spravato Therapy
We use carefully monitored doses of Spravato to help patients struggling with complex mental health disorders, including severe depression.

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Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Patients use this practice to help reframe intrusive or negative thought patterns and develop coping techniques for long-term recovery.

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Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
This practice helps patients learn to regulate emotions, communicate more effectively, and process their own thoughts and feelings..

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Eye Movement Desensitization (EMDR)
Licensed and trained therapists guide patients through this technique for managing stress and anxiety on an ongoing basis.

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Individual Therapy
Patients experience one-on-one therapy sessions with a licensed therapist to provide a safe and private place to recover and heal.

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Group/Family Therapy
Patients can practice the skills and techniques they have learned in treatment with others in a safe, therapist-guided space. .
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