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Perception, behavioral sequences, reflexes, instincts, emotions, thinking and other integrative activities.


The many nuclei, circuits, systems and networks which make up the brain provide animals with numerous functional repertoires. Brains evolved complex sets of circuits that allow them to detect and evaluate the relevance of myriad physical energies in the environment and to plan and execute appropriate reactions to them.

Because most major neural circuits present in mammals also exist in other vertebrates, it seems that the basic adaptive neural functions had been worked out early in vertebrate evolution. Thus, there exist in all verterates: 1. detection and perception of five general types of physical energy, 2. organized and integrated postural and locomotor activities, 3. Instincts, reflexes and fixed-action patterns related to procreation of young, ingestion and elimination, escape and defense, and maintenance of homeostatic esquilibria, 4. selective attention and orientation toward specific environmental stimuli, 6. learning and forgetting, 7. capabilities for multitasking and parallel processing, 8. elaborate social repertoires, and 9. timed ontogenetic development of the behavioral repertoire.

It is the aim of this page to explore what is known about the brain mechanisms of all the functions listed above and below.

The senses; sensation, detecting features of the external & internal environments:
Olfaction (smell)
Sight (vision)

Hearing (auditory)

Basic integrated postural and locomotor movement sequences:

Diversity and complexity of musculature, and the structure and importance of the skeleton and its components.

Basic instincts and emotions:
Love, lust and sex
Anger, hate & fear
Territoriality, possessiveness
Dominance/submissiveness; Irritability and serenity.
Sociality, parenting & family ties
Growth of emotions during ontogeny

Cognitive capabilities:

Arousal, Attention, Thinking, Evaluating, Insight, Abstraction, Creativity, Choice, Purpose, Seeking, Planning, Generalization, Judgement, Introspection, Programming, Introspection, Interest, Preference, Discrimination, Learning, Habituation, Memory, recognition, retention, Knowledge,

Basic Behavioral repertoire
Basic Action sequences
Instincts; integrated action sequences
Learned and experientially modified percepts and action sequences.
Exploratory behavior
Goal Directed behaviors

All the terms listed above refer to brain functions expressable by the circuitry of the brain of any mammal. The jobs of neuroscientists involve identifying which brain components, circuits and networks are responsible for every function that can be defined.

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