The results of research into the phenomenon of selective attention allow us to understand the ‘reception syndrome’, that is, how a person is able to concentrate on one conversation in the midst of a series of noisy conversations taking place in a room. During the experiments, volunteers observed a symbol composed of smaller thumbnails and described either the global image or its details.
When they were supposed to give a global interpretation, volunteers were ‘involved’ in a brain area called the right lingual gyrus (in the back of the brain). And when they needed to pay attention to the details, another area was involved, also in the back of the brain, but on the left. It is an example of top-down information processing, when the brain adjusts the perception and interpretation of previously observed information. Another example of such a brain’s effect on perception is the study of observations of incomplete images or objects. A good example of this could be seen in a television commercial that featured a freckled ‘Dalmatian’ dog in the back of which scattered the same freckles. To see a dog, you must first ‘know or learn’ that it is in that ‘incomplete’ image.
In experiments carried out with such images, the volunteers failed to identify objects that were ‘hidden’ in them. Then they were shown ‘complete’ pictures – of a dog, face and banana – which were hidden in appropriate backgrounds. When they were shown ‘incomplete’ pictures again, they could easily recognize hidden objects on them. Monitoring of brain activity during these experiments showed that there were active brain areas near and above the temples at all times. The first is ‘in charge’ of object and link recognition, the second is for attention and visuals. The researchers also discovered something new – that all these areas seem to work together, allowing us to recognize a hidden image when we see it for the second time.
Brain as a perfect machine
Nature knows about many miracles, but none of them can be compared to the wonder of the human brain. Here are some stunning figures and facts about this ultimate creation of life.
– The weight of the average human brain is tripled between birth and adulthood – to bring the brain to a final weight of about 1.4 pounds for men and 1.3 pounds for women. However, since the age of 50, brain is tingling a little, losing 30 grams.
– There is no correlation between brain size and intelligence. The male brain is usually slightly larger than the female brain, but in both sexes the brain has a similar proportion to body weight.
– Two writers hold conflicting records regarding brain size. The brain of Russian writer Ivan Turgenev (1818-1883) weighed 2,012 kilograms. The brain of French writer Anatoly Frans (1844-1924) weighed barely more than half the previous figure – 1,017 kilograms.
– The brain is divided into two hemispheres, each a true copy of the other. The right hemisphere controls the muscles and receives information from the left half of the body; the left hemisphere conducts and controls the right half of the body.
– In right-handed people – who make up the majority – the left side of the brain is engaged in such skills as reading, writing and speaking. The right hemisphere takes care of artistic activity and imagination. In left-handed people, the functions of the two halves of the brain can be reversed.
– The average brain contains about 10 billion neurons – microscopically small nerve cells. Each cell has an extension called an axon that connects it to other parts of the central nervous system. Some axons extend along the spinal cord – making them longer than one meter and representing the longest cells in the human body. Each neuron is also associated with adjacent neurons with special connections of up to 50,000 and known as dendrites.
– New information that comes from senses and reaches the brain is stored, analyzed and reacted by electrochemical impulses that flow from neuro to neurons by dendritic connections. It is still not completely clear how complex information is encoded into these impulses, or how it is transmitted back. But it is known that the brain remains to a certain extent active for 24 hours, and that it activates hundreds of millions of pulses every day – more connections than all the telephone systems in the world, combined.
– The thumb is so important to human dexterity that more of the brain is devoted to controlling it than the one controlling the entire chest and abdomen.
– Nerve impulses to the brain and back travel as fast as a racing car. The fastest recorded impulses, in experiments conducted in 1966, traveled at almost 290 kilometers per hour. Nerve impulses move at a slightly slower pace in the elderly – approximately 240 kilometers per hour.
– Pain from any injury or illness is always registered by the brain. However, the weirdest part is that the brain itself is immune to pain. It does not contain any of the receptor cells that feel pain in other parts of the body. Brain surgery may sometimes need to be performed while the patient is conscious, so that the surgeon can find the right path through the complex brain tissue with the patient’s help. When the inconvenience of the first incision with the scalpel through the skull and the sheath of the brain is overcome by local anesthesia, the patient no longer feels any pain. This technique, for example, is used to locate the brain region responsible for epilepsy attacks. Weak electrical shocks are applied to different parts of the brain until the patient reports the first symptoms of an epileptic seizure. The area that causes the symptoms is then surgically removed or torn.
Also, if you are interested in boosting other brain abilities, you should check out ”ELECTRICITY CAN BOOST YOUR BRAIN” , ‘‘3 SIMPLE EXERCISES TO BOOST YOUR CONCENTRATION”, ”How to Build Your Focus Using Simple Techniques”
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