The mysterious discovery of how the human brain hears and fears

on 10 December 2018
The wonderfl brain, in the background

While scientists focus on the centres of fear in your life, as an explanation of why life can be so challenging, hypnosis focuses on finding the centre within your mind, the place from where peace and calmness derive. Find that and you find the essence of life itself . . . 

To wire together; cells must fire together!

It seems that these scientists have managed to create a way to visually prove what is already known! Hebbian plasticity has said for decades, that if you pair a conditioned stimulus (the tone) with an unconditioned stimulus (the puff of air), the conditioned stimulus takes on all the qualities and strength of the unconditioned stimulus. This research has provided irrefutable proof that what is known, has now been proved visually. This is the equivalent of proving that an apple a day, keeps the Dr away! We believed in the power of the apple, even when there wasn't any proof now there is proof, it is merely the icing on the cake.

It is this knowledge of how the brain responds to fear stimuli, that helped me develop my Trans4mational Therapy Programme and that has helped thousands of clients live normal lives again. Life as we know it is very much a stimulus-response event, in that the brain is constantly monitoring the environment we live in and both memorising all stimuli that represent danger or reward. Normal reward stimuli reinforce certain behaviours and habits that will reinforce reward-seeking. However, because fear/danger pose a threat to our existence, the brain responses to it have a much more powerful response and the chemicals (stress hormones) it uses to keep us safe, can become dysregulated and ultimately work against us, similar to an autoimmune response, hayfever etc.

This dysregulation can then, and often do develop into a disorder or an illness. While hypnosis may seem like some kind of nebulous experience, in the sense of how it works, it really isn't, it merely is derived from an understanding of how our brain and mind work in the background. In that sense, what happens in hypnosis is the reverse of what happens as a consequence of dysregulated fear responses. These fear responses (via the sympathetic nervous system) and all the psychosomatic disorders and maladies attached to them, take us into fight or flight, and hypnosis therapy (via the parasympathetic nervous system), takes us back to a normalised life experience. Stress is, therefore, the suspension of relaxation that allows us to deal with an emergency situation. The problem in modern-day life is that we very often are responding to an inconvenience, with all the force and importance of a problem; hypnotherapy helps you correct that dysregulation!

While this research focuses on the amygdala, and it has attained superstar status over the years, as being the centre of fear responses, in reality, there are so many other regions that feed into and from the amygdala and much more research into its neighbours needs to be done; in the meantime; hypnosis will very likely help you get back on track!

Hypnotherapy stands out as one of the most effective strategic life management methods there is, especially in its ability to promote clear thinking and good states of mental wellness. The behaviours that make life challenging are often a result of too much stress, too little sleep and too little by way of clarity! So, to take back control of your mind and your life, it makes perfect sense to use a methodology that addresses the subconscious mind's role in perpetuating negative, vague and ambiguous states of mind. Hypnosis helps us to create calm relaxing states of mind that make life work better! If you would like to address any concerns you have in this direction, or, if you just want to make your life feel better,  then why not make an appointment for a Free Consultation? Hypnosis gives you the ability to have a good life! 

The objective here is to help people understand how and why we become illogically trapped into irrational emotional experiences that may actually be happening for reasons different to that which we would imagine! If you want to know more about how Hypnotherapy can help you; why not make an appointment for a Free Consultation?

For more information on the Free Consultation - Go Here Or, to book your Free Consultation today, you can do so here

The Research: 

How is it that a sound can send a chill down your spine? By observing individual brain cells of mice, scientists at Cold Spring Harbour Laboratory (CSHL) are understanding how a sound can incite fear.

Investigator Bo Li focuses on a part of the mouse brain called the amygdala where sights, sounds, and other stimuli take on positive or negative associations through experience. The continuous process of learning and unlearning that occurs in the amygdala appears impaired in people with anxiety disorders or major depression. Understanding brain cell or neuron activity in the amygdala could result in better treatments.

In the October issue of Nature Communications, Li and postdoctoral researcher Xian Zhang describe profound changes in neuron activity when they trained animals to fear a particular sound and associate another sound with a reward. "If you look at the patterns of brain cell activity in the amygdala, you can know whether the animal is expecting a reward or fearing a punishment," Li explains.

Li and Zhang used a microscope with a lens small enough to implant in the brain of a mouse, to track the firing activity of specific neurons before, during, and after an animal's training. They taught the animals to associate particular sounds with reward or punishment and saw the behaviour of neurons evolve. The experiment associated one tone with an annoying puff of air -- the punishment. The reward tone was a refreshing drop of water to drink.

At first, neurons sensitive to sound responded to each tone by firing randomly. But when one tone was repeatedly accompanied by the puff of air, the neurons fired in a very specific pattern. This pattern closely resembled the firing pattern of another type of brain cell that fires when the mouse actually experienced the punishment. Likewise, when a tone was repeatedly paired with a sip of water, the sound-sensitive neurons fired in a pattern similar to neuron activity when the mouse received the water reward.

As the firing patterns became more specific, the animals licked in response to the reward-associated tone -- anticipating water. They blinked in response to the punishment-associated sound -- anticipating an air puff.

The researchers also switched the meaning of each tone. When the "reward" sound was repeatedly accompanied by an air puff, the neurons let go of the established "reward" firing pattern and adopted the "punishment" pattern. "We think this is how sound acquires meaning," Li says.

Story Source:

Materials provided by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. Originally written by Jennifer Michalowski. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Journal Reference:

  1. Xian Zhang, Bo Li. Population coding of valence in the basolateral amygdalaNature Communications, 2018; 9 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41467-018-07679-9

Cite This Page:

Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. "How the brain hears and fears." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 December 2018. <>.