Functional Adaptation Defined
In Chapter 3 it was stated that human animals are creatures of emotion first. Our instincts lie within the paleoencephalon that monitors and assesses all incoming sensory information. The brain's reception and interpretation of sensory information ultimately result in some sort of responses to the environment, based on interpretation of incoming information. Those responses may range from a simple disregard or dismissal of incoming information to highly activated emergency reactions. Sensory input and responses may, or may not, be tagged and logged by the brain's hippocampus for future reference incombination with previously stored information.
Chapter 3 also asserts that cognition and higher cortical processes occur at the discretion of the paleoencephalon's gate-keepers, which allow the information to go forward after safety to human survival is determined. What are basic human survival needs, and how does the human system monitor its safety factors?
In order for animal life to survive and perpetuate itself, the brain, when processing sensory information, is first and foremost concerned with satisfying two major factors: (a) survival of the self, and (b) survival of the species (Schneck 1997, pp.1–22). These two cardinal components of survival are in the domain of the paleoencephalon (old brain), the instinctive/intuitive systems continually dealing with deterrents to survival and safety.