Let the Mind Games Begin—Cerebro
Emotions are an innate thing in all humans, and it is this very thought that inspired Blank 101 and IE Biotech to host Cerebro—a workshop and interactive session on the different emotions we feel. The topic was relatable and very fascinating, and thus, room 305 of NLH saw a good turnout for this psychology-based talk.
Arjun Roy, who served as the first speaker for the day, emphasised why we learn emotions and why they are so important. He spoke about learning to explore and give meaning to why we emote the way we do, calling it the single most significant step to self-discovery. Emotions are sensed and processed by us throughout the entirety of our lives, and have proven to be a significant factor in human evolution. They enable us to react and respond to the situations we are put in, thus helping us form a lens through which to view the world. Emotional responses could range from what to choose for breakfast, to how we respond to the voice of someone we love.
The five perennial questions he wished to answer were on topics ranging from what emotions were, to how many different types of them existed. It has been widely agreed upon by the scientific world that there are eight basic emotions: Anger, Fear, Happiness, Sadness, Anticipation, Surprise, Trust, and Disgust. Every emotion we feel is a permutation and combination of these essential eight, much like a colour wheel. He ended by explaining how emotions and moods were different things, and how one term should not be used in place of the other.
A mood is a sustained emotional state that may or may not be entirely expressed. Humaira Shah then moved on to explain how the limbic system and the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) function, and how everything we feel is just a combination of chemicals. She talked about how the Thalamus and Amygdala process every emotion we feel and release the necessary hormones as and when required; thus, triggering a particular sensation or feeling. She even explained a mood all ‘foodies’ are familiar with—“Hanger”—which is anger stemming from a lack of food.
Hormones such as Oxytocin, Serotonin, and Dopamine were discussed in detail. The neural system was also explained to let the audience know a little about the biology behind the whole system. She concluded that the brain was a weird small controller that likes to play games on our body, thus prompting a lot of things such as mood swings. The onset of depression and panic attacks were discussed, and practical countermeasures were also touched upon.
The third speaker of the day, Tanay, focused mainly on the psyche. His talk was based on the Freudian principles of Psychology and how the human mind functions. The study of Psychology helps give us a better understanding of how humans work. Our response to stimuli and the way we react to adverse situations go a long way in helping us unravel the mystery that is the human mind. Freud believed that the human psyche has more than one aspect and the way we react to a situation depends on which alternative psyche was dominant.
The mind was thought to be divided into three; the id, which is the primitive and instinctive part that is possibly responsible for all the rash and impulsive things we do. The superego, which holds all our morals and values and constitutes, and the ego, which is the reality of who we actually are. Each part was believed to make a significant contribution to an individual’s behaviour. He then went on to explain the different defence mechanisms our mind uses to justify the actions we do.
Projecting our negative thoughts onto every action someone does was something everyone in the crowd could relate to. Praneeth Ratnagiri served as the final speaker for the day, and his talk focused on how several physical mannerisms of ours enhance our mood. Who knew eating broccoli could put you in a good mood a day later while fatty foods made you feel grumpy a few days later? Chocolate can lift anyone’s mood at any time; and pretending to be happy consequently helps to trick your body into believing you are, in fact, happy. Hence, people who have a “happy” gait are more prone to being confident and comfortable than people who have a negative posture. Active and passive gestures for various moods ranging from boredom to anger were talked about. He even carried out an experiment with a few people from the audience to prove that smiling leads to an increase of dopamine while frowning does the exact opposite. He ended his talk by suggesting all of us to take a positive approach to life so that we could all be in a dopamine-induced state of happiness all the time.
After all the speakers were done with their presentations, the audience got an opportunity to ask questions and interact with the speakers. This session proved to be very useful, as a lot of members of the audience had interesting queries related to the stimulation of our various moods and emotions. Every member of the audience left the session more aware of the human body than when they initially walked in. The speakers were invigorating and refreshing and had interesting cases to present. Let’s hope that Blank 101 and IE Biotech collaborate more often to give us such workshops in the future.
Photo and Featured Image Credits: Akshat Joshipura for The Photography Club, Manipal.