Police Psychology | Appreciate the Limits of Your Cerebral Cortex When It Comes to Managing your Emotions
by Doug Gentz, Ph.D
Guest Blogger – Psychological Services, Tulsa, Oklahoma
People have at least three distinct levels of anatomy and function inside their heads. The top layer, less than a quarter of an inch thick, is the “human brain,” also called the cerebral cortex. This is the part of your brain that is responsible for all your higher functions – conscious thought, logical reasoning, and narrative language. It makes it possible for you to consider the past and plan the future. This type of brain structure and function is found only in humans.
The second level of your brain, which takes up most of the space in your head, is the Limbic System. All mammals have similar limbic systems and they work the same way and do the same functions in cats, dogs, cows, and people. You can think of it as your “dog brain.” Your dog brain has a limited understanding of language. Although it can’t talk or understand reason, it can respond and react to language as a type of signaling. Research suggests that most dogs can recognize up to about 200 words. (more…)