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It's not easy being mammal

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Mammals live in groups for protection from predators, but group life is frustrating. Other mammals get the good bananas and mating opportunities. When things go your way, your brain releases serotonin. It feels good, which motivates your brain to do things that stimulate more. You have inherited a brain that cares about its status in a herd or pack or troop, though you would never consciously think this. Your neurochemical ups and downs make sense when you understand the mammal brain.

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It's not easy being mammal

  1. 1. It’s not easy being mammal Loretta Graziano Breuning, PhD Loretta@InnerMammalInstitute.org
  2. 2. Loretta Graziano Breuning, PhD www.InnerMammalInstitute.org Mammals are not born hard-wired with the habits of our ancestors. The mammal brain freed us to build survival skills from life experience instead.
  3. 3. Loretta Graziano Breuning, PhD www.InnerMammalInstitute.org But it’s not easy being mammal. Living in groups promotes survival, but each brain perceives survival in its own way.
  4. 4. Loretta Graziano Breuning, PhD www.InnerMammalInstitute.org Before mammals, creatures had thousands of babies and few lived to puberty.
  5. 5. Loretta Graziano Breuning, PhD www.InnerMammalInstitute.org Reptiles leave their offspring at birth after pausing to eat any hatchlings that are under par.
  6. 6. Loretta Graziano Breuning, PhD www.InnerMammalInstitute.org Fish don’t even wait for their eggs to hatch.They swim off as soon as their eggs are fertilized.
  7. 7. Loretta Graziano Breuning, PhD www.InnerMammalInstitute.org Mammals developed the strategy of birthing few offspring and investing in each individual.
  8. 8. Loretta Graziano Breuning, PhD www.InnerMammalInstitute.org Mammals form attachments, and guard their offspring constantly from predators.
  9. 9. Loretta Graziano Breuning, PhD www.InnerMammalInstitute.org It’s not easy having your eggs in so few baskets.
  10. 10. Loretta Graziano Breuning, PhD www.InnerMammalInstitute.org When mammals live in groups, fewer young are lost to predators. Natural selection produced a brain good at living in a herd.
  11. 11. Loretta Graziano Breuning, PhD www.InnerMammalInstitute.org It’s not easy living in groups. When you see something you want, a bigger group mate wants it too.
  12. 12. Loretta Graziano Breuning, PhD www.InnerMammalInstitute.org A solitary reptile 
 can lunge at food without
 worrying what others will think.
  13. 13. Loretta Graziano Breuning, PhD www.InnerMammalInstitute.org If a mammal
 did that, it might get
 injured by a bigger group mate. You can survive the loss of one meal
 better than you can survive a nasty conflict.
  14. 14. Loretta Graziano Breuning, PhD www.LorettaBreuning.com Natural selection produced a brain skilled at deciding when to seize something that meets its needs, and when to hold back to avoid injury.
  15. 15. Loretta Graziano Breuning, PhD www.InnerMammalInstitute.org The mammal brain sizes up others based on past experience with them. A mammal survives by comparing itself
 to others and anticipating reactions.
  16. 16. Loretta Graziano Breuning, PhD www.LorettaBreuning.com All mammals have the same 
 basic parts under their cortex.
  17. 17. Loretta Graziano Breuning, PhD www.InnerMammalInstitute.org Mammals inherited reptile brains and added on.
  18. 18. Loretta Graziano Breuning, PhD www.LorettaBreuning.com Mammals evolved brain structures that
 manage social interactions with neurochemicals.
  19. 19. Loretta Graziano Breuning, PhD www.InnerMammalInstitute.org The mammal brain uses neurochemicals to interpret survival information. “this input is good/bad for me” “this input is good/bad for me”
  20. 20. Loretta Graziano Breuning, PhD www.InnerMammalInstitute.org It releases “happy” neurochemicals (dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, endorphin)when it sees something that promotes reproductive success.
  21. 21. Loretta Graziano Breuning, PhD www.InnerMammalInstitute.org “Unhappy” neurochemicals (cortisol) flow when the brain sees a threat to reproductive success.
  22. 22. Loretta Graziano Breuning, PhD www.InnerMammalInstitute.org Social bonds promote reproductive success, and the brain rewards them with “happy chemicals.”
  23. 23. Loretta Graziano Breuning, PhD www.InnerMammalInstitute.org The chemical “oxytocin” rewards a mammal for bonds of trust, like social alliances and maternal-child bonding
  24. 24. Loretta Graziano Breuning, PhD www.InnerMammalInstitute.org Oxytocin is released at birth and on touch. It produces a good feeling when a mammal trusts another. Of course, trusting the wrong individual hurts survival prospects, so betrayed trust triggers cortisol.
  25. 25. Loretta Graziano Breuning, PhD www.InnerMammalInstitute.org The mammal brain learns when to trust from experience because neurochemicals stimulate connections between neurons. Conscious analysis is not necessary.
  26. 26. Loretta Graziano Breuning, PhD www.InnerMammalInstitute.org The chemical “dopamine” produces a good feeling when a mammal finds a way to meet its needs.
  27. 27. Loretta Graziano Breuning, PhD www.InnerMammalInstitute.org The chemical “sertonin” rewards a mammal when it dominates.
  28. 28. Loretta Graziano Breuning, PhD www.InnerMammalInstitute.org Social dominance promotes reproductive success and the mammal brain rewards it with serotonin.
  29. 29. Loretta Graziano Breuning, PhD www.InnerMammalInstitute.org Females seek dominance as well as males, and more surviving offspring result.
  30. 30. Loretta Graziano Breuning, PhD www.InnerMammalInstitute.org Your mammal brain cares about status as if your life depended on it because from your DNA’s perspective, it does.
  31. 31. Loretta Graziano Breuning, PhD www.InnerMammalInstitute.org Status threats are survival threats to the mammal brain, and trigger stress chemicals.
  32. 32. Loretta Graziano Breuning, PhD www.InnerMammalInstitute.org A cortex can restrain the urge to grab when a bigger group mate is watching.
  33. 33. Loretta Graziano Breuning, PhD www.InnerMammalInstitute.org A mammal’s cortex uses stored experience to restrain neurochemical impulses.
  34. 34. Loretta Graziano Breuning, PhD www.InnerMammalInstitute.org Mammals avoid conflict when that promotes survival, and they engage in conflict when that promotes survival.
  35. 35. Loretta Graziano Breuning, PhD www.InnerMammalInstitute.org Size matters when it comes to the cortex.
  36. 36. Loretta Graziano Breuning, PhD www.InnerMammalInstitute.org A bigger cortex can store more experience with individual group mates.
  37. 37. Loretta Graziano Breuning, PhD www.InnerMammalInstitute.org A big cortex makes subtle judgements about when to seek dominance and when to submit to avoid harm.
  38. 38. Loretta Graziano Breuning, PhD www.InnerMammalInstitute.org A mammal may appear to “inherit” status from its mother.
  39. 39. Loretta Graziano Breuning, PhD www.InnerMammalInstitute.org But research shows that primates learn social dominance skills by mirroring elders.
  40. 40. Loretta Graziano Breuning, PhD www.InnerMammalInstitute.org A young mammal goes out and promotes its own genes with the brain it has built from its own experience.
  41. 41. Loretta Graziano Breuning, PhD www.InnerMammalInstitute.org Instead of being hard-wired to survive the way our ancestors survived, we mammals are born to build neural pathways from early experience.
  42. 42. Loretta Graziano Breuning, PhD www.InnerMammalInstitute.org It’s not easy being a social animal.
  43. 43. Loretta Graziano Breuning, PhD www.InnerMammalInstitute.org I, Mammal WhyYour Brain Links Status and Happiness ! by Loretta Graziano Breuning ! $10.99 paper $4.99 ebook It’s not easy being a mammal.We live in groups for protection from predators, but group life can be frustrating. Mammals seek social dominance because it stimulates their serotonin. You can feel good without “junk status” if you understand your mammal brain. This book shows how.
  44. 44. Loretta Graziano Breuning, PhD www.LorettaBreuning.com MeetYour
 Happy Chemicals! by Loretta Graziano Breuning, PhD ! $9.99 paper $4.99 ebook Happiness is caused by brain chemicals we’ve inherited from earlier mammals. When you know the job these chemicals do in animals, your emotional ups and downs make sense. You can build new neural circuits that trigger more well- being and fewer unwanted behaviors. This book shows how!
  45. 45. Loretta Graziano Breuning, PhD www.LorettaBreuning.com Dopamine Dopamine makes you jump for joy when you reach a goal or get a toy. Innature,ithelpsfindfoodwhenyouneedit. “Eureka, I got it!” A memory gets created. Dopamine causes expectations. Correct predictions bring good sensations. Dopamine feels great so you try to get more. It rewarded our ancestors trudging through gore. Cocaine triggers dopamine. Caution to all: Joy without goal-seeking leads to a fall. Dopamine flows when you feel like “I’ve done it.” Whenothersdoitforyou, your dopamine will shunit.
  46. 46. Loretta Graziano Breuning, PhD www.LorettaBreuning.com Endorphin Endorphin helps you mask the pain Of injuries that you sustain. Yourancestorsescapedfrompredatorattack ‘Cause endorphinfeltgoodwhiletheyranback. Endorphin feels great when it eases your pains. But only real pain makes it flow in your veins. Exercise triggers it, experts alert you. But first you must do it ‘til body parts hurt you. Endorphin receptors let opium in. So you feel like you’re safe without lifting a shin. Laughing and crying can trigger it too. But just for a moment– then the job’s through.
  47. 47. Loretta Graziano Breuning, PhD www.LorettaBreuning.com Oxytocin Oxytocin makes you trust your mates. We love the bonds that it creates. Oxytocinflowswhen youstickwiththeherd. “Notme!” youmaysay,“I’mnobovineorbird.” But without social bonds, your brain feels alarm. This protected our ancestors from all kinds of harm. Thoughthe herdwillannoyyou,thepackhurtyouso. When you run with a pack, oxytocin will flow. “My pack is great and the other is nuts.” This thinking prevailed since the first mammal struts. You’re above all this foolishness, obviously. But it feels good when I trust you and you trust me.
  48. 48. Loretta Graziano Breuning, PhD www.LorettaBreuning.com Serotonin swells your chest with pride When you get respect and needn’t hide. Yourbrainfeelsgoodwhenyouboostyourselfhigher. But when others do this, it provokes your ire. “I don’t care about status. It’s other who do.” Butyouspurtserotoninwhenthelimelight’sonyou. You are quite modest and don’t like to boast. But no serotonin flows when you coast. Status doesn’t depend on money. You can be clever or helpful or funny. But when others one-up you, your mind agitates. ‘Cause serotonin droops ‘til you lift your own weights. Serotonin

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