Your right amygdala loves animals!  »

Guess what: Your brain loves animals! Duh, right, you read this blog. Or maybe you read this blog because you hate plants with such a vengeance you want to spend all your food-time destroying them. Even YOUR brain loves animals, because scientists recently discovered that everyone’s brains have a thing for them. At least this one specific part of everyone’s brains.

Turns out your right amygdala (which is an almond-shaped bundle of nerves deep in your brain that helps with processing emotions and survival-y stuff) is full-on hypersensitive to animals. Cute animals, scary animals, doesn’t matter: Show those neurons a picture of a house or landscape or whatever, and they’re like, “Yawn;” Show them a picture of your mom, or your best friend, or even the hottest person EVER, and they’re still like, “Uh-huh;” but show them a turtle or a llama or a newt? ZING! They respond 20 percent faster and more often.

The researchers who discovered this give credit to a little theory they like to call “evolution.” Ars Technica breaks it down like this: “Sometime during the evolutionary history of humans, animals became important enough to receive expedited processing in this region of the brain.” 

Moral of the story: Pay attention to animals. Your amygdala is begging you to.

 [Image by Liz Henry via Flickr]

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