Learning Brain – Survival Brain

Learning Brain - Survival Brain

Learning brain vs. Survival Brain

Learn each day on how we face decisions and choices. To increase the way your brain works learn about the Learning Brain – Survival Brain.

These decisions can be easy (what to have for lunch) or difficult (which car to buy). They can have short-term effects or long-term impacts. How are these decisions processed by our brain? What role does the brain play in decision-making? This article on the learning brain vs. the survival brain has tips for you.

Let’s take a closer look at these processes and what they tell us about how our brains work.
These are the different decision-making processes that our brains are involved in:

Mind Focus

This is a deliberative, logical, and reflective process of thinking. Mind focus is usually associated with complex decisions (i.e., buying a car or choosing a name for your baby) because it is thoughtful and requires careful analysis.


A rapid decision made based on emotions and intuition. Thinking often occurs automatically, even when we are not aware of it happening. An example of this is when the brain determines the distance of a moving object. Parts of the brain process visual information quickly and automatically to assess a potential threat.

Thinking Without Thinking

This kind of processing happens outside our conscious awareness and allows us to make rapid decisions without being aware of it (i.e., driving or walking). These kind of decisions are made on automatic pilot and, like thinking, may occur quickly even when we are not aware they are happening.


This is the process through which we develop our attitudes, values, priorities. It includes fundamental thinking about what is important to you and your family.

Thoughtless Feeling

These are your gut instinct. Though this decision-making process does not require thought, it is not entirely mindless, and feelings are often a significant part of the equation.
Consequences of a decision are significant, and they can’t be the only way we make a choice.
We cannot always choose the option that gives us the most pleasure or satisfaction.

Don’t always have to choose what will make us feel or look good.

Determine what aligns with priorities and our values so we feel good even when making difficult decisions.
But even when we know what is best for us, it can sometimes be hard to make a decision.

It can be very hard not to think about our decisions’ potential consequences (and whether they will lead to feelings of anxiety and regret).

Learning Brain vs. Survival Brain –

These different parts of our brain are all working together to help us make decisions.

You may have notice that our brain’s most crucial decision-making factor is often the least recognized.

We have an unconscious mind that silently processes information that we then act upon (i.e., driving). The unconscious mind is where our values, attitudes, thoughts, and feelings has been stored.
The unconscious mind makes it possible for us to have a “gut instinct” or an intuition about something without knowing how we know it.

Good Decisions

We must identify what we want and value and use that information when making decisions.

This means that our brains play a significant role in decision-making!
We also have a survival brain that is constantly scanning the environment for potential threats or dangers. Although it can sometimes be hard to ignore this part of our brain, it is essential to recognize that it does not always have accurate information or the best, most important information.

When we are aware of how our brains work, we are better equipped to make decisions that will lead to feelings of happiness and fulfillment in the long run.

Our brains are made of neurons, much like the network of sensors, wires, and computers involve in traditional Lego Mindstorms robotics kits. The brain is also similar to an operating system that directs our bodies’ information processing to our actions and decisions.

Our Brains Have Both Emotional and Rational Areas

Learning Brain vs. Survival Brain

Our brain’s rational areas process information about how to do things. In contrast, the emotional areas make decisions based on feelings, intuition, instincts, and intuitions.

Both of these parts of our brain play essential roles in decision making; however, they often work in different ways to help us make the right choices. These different parts of our brains are critical for managing difficult situations not to feel anxious or overwhelmed.

The part of our brain that is rational is known as the “learning brain” because it helps us understand how to do something.

The survival brain or “instinctual brain” comprises the basal ganglia, amygdala, hypothalamus, and hippocampus. This area of our brain works to help us assess danger and respond to that danger appropriately.

When we decide based on logic alone or without consideration for what we value in life, then our survival brain might be working overtime.

When we can learn how our brains should work before making decisions and then use that knowledge to make decisions aligned with what we value, our survival brain will be more in line with our “thinking brain.”

Deciding can be harder when we are not sure of the consequences of a decision.

Not knowing can lead to feelings of uncertainty and worry. The more uncertain we feel about a situation, the more critical it becomes to involve all parts of our brain in the decision-making process.

Learning how to understand and manage the different parts of our brains will help us decide in a more aligned way with what we value.

Learning Brain vs. Survival Brain are the process of decision-making involves the integration of four different brain functions or processes.
Each area of the brain process serves a unique purpose, but all are important for effective decision-making. These areas include emotions, logic, intuition, and values. All four areas must work together for effective decision-making.


The area of the brain that handles the emotions gives us our feelings and emotions. Emotions are a part of our lives and can help us feel more connected to other people. To feel close to others and trust, we must learn how to recognize and manage our feelings.

This area can also be a source of stress because we can sometimes get overwhelmed by our emotions (i.e., when we “lose it”). It can be helpful to analyze our emotions by writing them down. Once we understand our emotions, we can work to manage them in a healthier way.

Emotions are different from values because values do not change over time and are constant

Values help us know what is most important in life, and they help us make decisions that reflect these priorities. People can have different values at different times, but these values stay consistent.

Emotions change over time because we can feel angry, sad, or afraid at different times. Emotions are important for our survival, so it is alright to experience them. It is not okay to stay in our emotions (e.g., anger) for long periods, that can deplete our energy and lead to emotional breakdowns.

Emotions can be difficult to manage because they often come from both logical and intuitive brain processes. It is essential to know when the intuitive or the logical brain processes trigger our emotions.


Another area of the brain that plays a role in decision-making. Logic helps us make decisions that are based on facts and figures rather than emotions and values. These two types of thinking, logic, and intuition, can sometimes conflict with each other.

The conflict can lead to choices that may not be consistent with our values or have good outcomes for us.

The purpose of emotional regulation is to manage emotions to lead to positive outcomes; for example, we may regulate our anger to not lead to outbursts.

Much of the research on emotion regulation has focused on adults.

Researchers are also studying how children develop different types of emotion regulation skills over time.

Parents, teachers, and other caregivers are likely to be the first people a child will learn to regulate his or her emotions. As a parent or caregiver, you want to help children learn how to regulate their emotions effectively to reach their potential and have positive relationships with others.

Learning Brain vs. Survival Brain – Different Types of Emotion Regulation.

The simplest way to regulate emotions is to remove oneself from the situation that caused the emotion. For example, you are in a chemistry class that turns out to be very difficult. You decide to withdraw from the course and take another class. This is called behavioral disengagement because it involves disengaging from a situation that triggers certain emotions.

People also use cognitive strategies—ways of thinking—to regulate their own emotions

Some people use positive thoughts about themselves, such as “I am smart. I will do well on this test.” Other people who use negative thoughts, such as “I’ll fail this test.” Cognitive strategies are things we do to manage or modify our behavior. Cognitive strategies can be use to regulate emotions rather than to express them.

Reactions and feelings play a role in some of the ways we regulate our emotions.

To regulate the emotions, people often use many strategies at the same time. Emotions shape our lives and add color and meaning to everything we do. We need to have our emotions to survive, and to thrive.

Learning brain vs. survival brain wrap up

In recent research has helped scientists understand how people regulate their own emotions. Re-read this article on the Learning Brain vs. the Survival Brain for extra insight into our wonderful brain.