Neuroscience explains how phenomena observed in psychology function in the brain.
Traditionally, neuroscience was limited to biology and medicine. Due to the development of scientific knowledge and methods, neuroscience is now an interdisciplinary field that involves chemistry, physics, computer science, linguistics, and mathematics, as well as allied disciplines such as psychology, philosophy, and cognitive sciences.
Historically, our brain developed in three stages that manage different information:
- Vertebrate: 400 million years; instincts and body
- Mammal: 65 million years; feelings and emotions
- Human cortex: 3 to 6 million years; consciousness and rationality
Each and every second, we function with one or another of these parts or their combinations. For a person to mature, all of them need to be coordinated and balanced.
Some related facts:
- The human brain is the most complex structure in the universe with its 10 to the power of 19 connections. It contains 100 billion neurons; each one is connected to 7000 other neurons. No wonder the brain has a colossal capacity for memory.
- Through the five senses, the brain can receive every second an average of 20 million pieces of information unconsciously and in the body, versus only 20 consciously.
- The brain thinks in images. Regarding those formed by the outer world, only 10% are stored in consciousness, versus 90% in the unconscious.
- The brain associates and interprets information received both consciously and unconsciously, and then makes a synthesis. Researchers in medical chemistry discovered that when we face a problem the brain comes up with an average of twelve solutions and makes one selection.
Our heritage in all its forms – together with our personal experiences – creates our personality. The ego – the centre of consciousness but not its totality – matures through positive and negative experiences in the family, school, work and society.
Once we realize that the vast majority of our experiences and the ways we react to them are stored in the unconscious, we are left to wonder about what is true knowledge of ourselves. The artist Paul Gauguin said it best: “Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going?”