How we Form Thoughts
One recent scientific study claims the brain of the average human being is responsible for generating approximately 60,000 thoughts daily. Many of these thoughts are random and could be more important. However, other thoughts that arise in human brains are much more critical. They are necessary to sustain life, control emotions, and complete daily tasks.
Yes, it is incredible that so many thoughts pass through our minds each day. Therefore, it is vital to understand their role in our lives. This article will answer some perplexing questions about our thoughts. First, we will look at where thoughts develop and how they form in the human mind. Also, we will discuss what we can do to control some of the thoughts that shape human existence actively.
How Thoughts are Formed in the Brain
The five senses are information gatherers. They supply the data for what later becomes human thought. Once this data is collected, it is processed and transmitted by nerve cells in the brain known as neurons.
Neurons are electrically excitable and transport the stimuli collected by the five senses in a way that makes it possible for human beings to respond to their environment. One example of this process in action is when a person touches a hot stove and moves a hand immediately from the source of pain.
Approximately 100 billion neurons are present in the brain. These neurons can communicate with each other or other cells in the body through synapses. The average neuron transmits a single signal each second of the day. However, the brain also possesses specialized neurons that can send as many as 1,000 signals per second.
Thoughts Formation in Action
The brain’s limbic system is responsible for much of the activity we refer to as thought. This set of brain structures is beneath the cerebrum.
The limbic system controls specific brain functions:
The brain parts of the limbic system include the thalamus, hypothalamus, hippocampus, amygdala, basal ganglia, and cingulate gyrus. The limbic system plays an integral role in the formation of human thought. However, all aspects of the brain are responsible for forming thought patterns and also turning these thought patterns into action.
When gathering information through one or more of the five senses, the result is more than the presence of electrical activity in one or two neurons. Instead, multiple brain regions will light up in response to this stimulus. Scientists for many years should have noticed this point. Thus, the function of single neurons is to form both thoughts and patterns of thoughts.
One example an expert uses to explain this new understanding of the thought formation process involves the retina. When the retina processes information, a handful of neurons show intense activity. Then a significant number of neurons show activity that, on the surface, seems less relevant. Scientists for many years attributed the processing of the information received by the retina only to the neurons that showed the most significant activity. However, researchers now understand that all the neurons in the process are necessary to form and process thoughts from the data provided by the senses.
Every person’s brain can constantly adapt over their lifetime. This is good news for people who feel they have developed a pattern of thoughts that are not conducive to the life they wish to live.
We refer to the brain function that explains this transformation of thoughts as neuroplasticity. The brain can transform its synapses and neural pathways for new stimuli. The concept of neuroplasticity has rendered the older belief that the brain remains the same throughout a person’s life entirely irrelevant.
Neuroplasticity can take place on both a small and large scale. For example, changes in forming thought patterns in the brain can range in size. They differ from the minute changes that result from adding a new word to a person’s vocabulary to the complete change in brain function that results from a traumatic brain injury.
Taking an Active Role in Thoughts Transformation
Neuroplasticity allows individuals to take an active role in changing the thought patterns that help shape their lives. To understand this process in action, consider that brain circuitry must be altered for an experience to become committed to memory. Learning can take place only when the internal structure of neurons is changed. Or there is an increase in the number of synapses that allow these neurons to communicate with each other. This means that the education we receive from experience directly shapes the thoughts our brains can form.
Synaptic pruning is another process that can alter the formation of thoughts in the brain. This process reduces the number of synapses and neurons in the brain. Thus allowing for a more efficient configuration of the available synapses. Individuals who want to take an active approach to synaptic pruning should understand that the “use it or lose it” principle is directly applicable to the process. Synapses that are regularly used benefit from a stronger connection. Synapses not used very much are the first to be eliminated during pruning.
The neurons and synapses in the brain combine to form the network that processes perceived data. Then, this data is transformed into thoughts. After that, it communicates these thoughts to the appropriate areas in the body. Much of this activity takes place in the limbic system.
We form thought patterns when the brain processes the same or similar data. It does it in a way that results in a continuous pattern of thinking and behaviour. However, recent evidence has shown that we can change how the brain forms thoughts and produces thought patterns. We can achieve this by providing the brain with different stimuli.