It has always been important for me to understand my cerebral palsy symptoms. 8 years after initially finding out I had cerebral palsy, I am still finding out things about myself and why I present and act a certain way.
Emotions can be broken into three categories, primary, secondary, and background emotions. Primary emotions are experienced as a by-product of a stimulus-response chain of events and have been hardwired in our brains over the course of evolution, such as fear, anger, disgust, sadness, and joy.
Secondary and background emotions are the product of an internal feedback loop, while the emotions involved in primary emotional reactions can also play a part in secondary and background emotions. For instance, fear as a secondary emotion might feel more like anxiety, stress, or shyness, secondary emotions related to joy might be experienced as ecstasy, pleasure or amusement.
Psychologists Antonio Damasio and Daniel Tranel, of the University of Iowa, researched frontal lobe patients’ reactions to stimuli that engage primary emotions. Frontal lobe patients and a control group, were hooked up to conductance-measuring electrodes and asked to watch a series of slides, some of which contained emotion-provoking content, most of which were neutral.
That where frontal-lobe patients sometimes know that they should feel a reaction, but the reaction is just not there to feel.
Viewing emotion-producing slides produced a measurable response in the control group of non-brain damaged people, but no response in frontal-lobe patients, even though they recalled the content of the slides without a problem. Although those patients remembered the slides, the damage to the frontal lobe rendered incapable of calling on the amygdala to set to work on the body and brain, therefore these patients had no reaction to refer to and interpret as emotion.
This missing link drastically affects frontal lobe patients’ ability to make decisions, because their secondary emotions are not engaged in evaluating the consequences of the numerous choices available when confronted with a decision, which ultimately means no decision is made until someone intervenes.
Intuition is the most-subtle result of secondary emotion and a power that frontal lobe patients will lack, but that depends on how bad their secondary emotion is affected by way of the nature and extent of their brain damage. In a similar situation, we may not even need to think about a decision but would make the intuitive connection. The next time we meet someone who feels similar, we instinctively know we are going to like this person.
Each case of brain damage, will play out differently as to how badly impaired we are and one size doesn’t fit all. Over the years, I have learned to compensate through my gut and intuition. I have learned how to look for and pay attention to my intuition and its subtle messages.
It is those messages that I receive that allow me to function in my life and they help me make decisions. I recognise I should have all sorts of feelings, but I am aware that I don’t feel the things I should.
With absolutely no recognition, it would also go on to explain why I missed my milestones growing up. Too many years late in the day, but I now know why I never made those connections.
Another part to the jigsaw has just been added.