The brain is probably the entity that is least known to us in the entire universe – scientists say. Thanks to the latest technology scanners, they are making great strides in discovering the entire architecture of the brain. They even begin to realize the greatest of all mysteries – how the brain creates human consciousness.
The brain is by far the most complex organ in the body, and with its approximately 100 billion neurons and the ability to establish a total of 10 billion connections, the number of potential neural circuits in it is greater than the number of particles in space. No wonder scientists have just begun to detect the neural circuits that determine human behavior.
All these connections are made in greyish soft tissue, weighing about 1.5 pounds, which is located inside the skull. The basic areas of the brain that regulate appetite, breathing, body temperature and more are located deep inside the skull and are common to all vertebrates. Across these primitive areas is the cerebrum, the largest part of the brain, which controls movement, the senses and more functions like memory and consciousness.
The outer layer of the cerebrum – the cerebral cortex – is a sheet of tissue about 2.5 millimeters thick, wrinkled in the shape of a kernel. It is divided into six clearly visible sections by deep notches, and by length into the right and left hemispheres. This is extremely important for new insights into brain function.
Previously, all functions were thought to have their own specific, specialized part of the cortex, however, it is now known that all parts work together, even if they are remote from one another, and that by coordinating their activities they produce complex functions. to put it simply, the areas towards the back of the cerebral cortex are mostly tasked with observation – that is, processing the data they get from the senses like hearing and sight. The front parts are more about responding to that information, say speech and movement. Cognition (cognition) is everything that happens in the brain from the first moment of observation to the action that will follow, and it also involves the processes associated with memory, thought, learning and language.
Zone of (not)understanding
Consciousness is much harder to define. Even experts disagree on what it means at all. Consciousness is probably the word with the broadest meaning in the world. Two scientists from London’s Cognitive Neuroscience department, Richard Frakowjak and Chris Frit, have discovered a place in the cerebral cortex that allows us to understand what other people think and feel. That everyday ability is a product of consciousness. It allows us to plan future actions and is based on our ability to predict and explain other people’s behavior.
They made the discovery by studying people with so-called Asperger’s syndrome, a mild form of autism. These people have trouble dealing with other people because they seem to be deprived of the ability to understand the thoughts, feelings, and motivations of others. Scientists call this lack of ‘theory of mind’.
Scientists have asked volunteers suffering from the disease to read stories while connected to a scanner and answer questions. The stories are something like this: A boy puts a bag of candy in the left drawer of his desk and walks out of the room. His mother enters the room, removing the sweets from the left drawer but returning them to the right drawer, then exits the room. The boy comes back for sweets. Which drawer will it open?
People with Asperger’s syndrome answered ‘right’ because it is a drawer where the candy really is. They couldn’t understand the boy’s experience at all – that he would remember putting the candy in the left drawer and therefore expecting to find it in it. Three-year-old children will make the same mistake, but adults will always guess it’s the left drawer because they fully understand the story. During the experiments, it was found that in normal people, as they read the story, a small area in the left front of the cortex was active – near the center of the forehead. Asperger volunteers were not active in this area. This means that that area of the brain plays a key role in understanding other people’s actions.
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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