Building Blocks Of The Brain
Extensive and intricate as the human brain is, and with the almost limitless variation of which it is capable, it is built from relatively few basic units. The fundamental building block of the human brain, like that of nervous systems throughout the animal kingdom, is the neuron, or nerve cell. The neuron conducts signals by means of an axon, which extends outward from the soma, or body of the cell, like a single long arm. Numerous shorter arms, the dendrites , conduct signals back to the soma.
The ability of the axon to conduct nerve impulses is greatly enhanced by the myelin sheath that surrounds it, interrupted at intervals by nodes. Myelin is a fatty substance, a natural electrical insulator, that protects the axon from interference by other nearby nerve impulses. The arrangement of nodes increases the speed of conductivity, so that an electrical impulse sent along the axon can literally jump from node to node, reaching velocities as high as 120 meters per second.
Differentiating Cognition From Perception In The Social Brain
In his detailed meta-analysis of social cognition, Van Overwalle states that the conclusion that enduring trait and norm inferences crucially involve the mPFC seems overwhelmingly supported by the empirical data, whereas the TPJ seems additionally engaged for processing visual material about others. This provides support for the view that the understanding of humans as enduring organisms with permanent social and psychological properties such as traits and norms is a crucial common element that engages the mPFC . Unfortunately, for the present case, Van Overwalle chose to consider the ACC and BA9 as a single functional entity for which he uses the term mPFC. It is therefore not possible to use his data to better localize psychosocial cognition to either of these two prefrontal areas. He does, however, comment that, Other general-purpose functions engage areas of the PFC that are not activated during social cognition, and are therefore very unlikely to constitute a core process of social inference, contrary to ideas put forward by many authors in the social neuroscience literature and social psychology , thus making an important point regarding the localization of different domains of cognition in other parts of the PFC .
Neurodevelopmental Plasticity And The Conceptualization Of Space And Time
The critical clue to identifying this area can be found in the organization of the primate visual system . In their Figure 1, all the perceptual elements that compose human vision are accounted for by the specific visual representations within different post-prefrontal areas. In addition to these, however, there remain two strong anteriorly-directed, visual projections, one to BA46 and the other to BA12 , prefrontal areas that have been repeatedly implicated in human cognition. These two projections are: the ventral stream, which carries visual and auditory information about the identity of objects and their spatial relationships, constituting the what pathway of Goodale et al. , Goodale and Milner and Milner and Goodale , Petrides and Pandya and the dorsal stream which carries absolute spatial and temporal information in real-time, constituting the where pathway . The information from the ventral stream is delivered to BA47/12 , while the information from the dorsal stream is delivered to BA46 .
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Why Is My Brain So Hyperactive
Hyperactivity is often a symptom of an underlying mental or physical health condition. One of the main conditions associated with hyperactivity is attention deficit hyperactivity disorder . ADHD causes you to become overactive, inattentive, and impulsive. It’s usually diagnosed at a young age.27 .. 2562
The Brain Is Flexible: Neuroplasticity
The control of some specific bodily functions, such as movement, vision, and hearing, is performed in specified areas of the cortex, and if these areas are damaged, the individual will likely lose the ability to perform the corresponding function. For instance, if an infant suffers damage to facial recognition areas in the temporal lobe, it is likely that he or she will never be able to recognize faces . On the other hand, the brain is not divided up in an entirely rigid way. The brains neurons have a remarkable capacity to reorganize and extend themselves to carry out particular functions in response to the needs of the organism and to repair damage. As a result, the brain constantly creates new neural communication routes and rewires existing ones. Neuroplasticity refers to the brains ability to change its structure and function in response to experience or damage. Neuroplasticity enables us to learn and remember new things and adjust to new experiences.
Although neurons cannot repair or regenerate themselves as skin or blood vessels can, new evidence suggests that the brain can engage in neurogenesis, the forming of new neurons . These new neurons originate deep in the brain and may then migrate to other brain areas, where they form new connections with other neurons . This leaves open the possibility that someday scientists might be able to rebuild damaged brains by creating drugs that help grow neurons.
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The Cerebral Cortex Creates Consciousness And Thinking
All animals have adapted to their environments by developing abilities that help them survive. Some animals have hard shells, others run extremely fast, and some have acute hearing. Human beings do not have any of these particular characteristics, but we do have one big advantage over other animals we are very, very smart.
You might think that we should be able to determine the intelligence of an animal by looking at the ratio of the animals brain weight to the weight of its entire body. But this does not really work. The elephants brain is one-thousandth of its weight, but the whales brain is only one ten-thousandth of its body weight. On the other hand, although the human brain is one-sixtieth of its body weight, the mouses brain represents one-fortieth of its body weight. Despite these comparisons, elephants do not seem 10 times smarter than whales, and humans definitely seem smarter than mice.
Bumps And Grooves Of The Brain
In humans, the lobes of the brain are divided by a number of bumps and grooves. These are known as gyri and sulci . The folding of the brain, and the resulting gyri and sulci, increases its surface area and enables more cerebral cortex matter to fit inside the skull.
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What Is A Hyperactive Child
Kids who are hyperactive are fidgety, restless, and easily bored. They may have trouble sitting still, or staying quiet when needed. They may rush through things and make careless mistakes. They may climb, jump, or roughhouse when they shouldn’t. Without meaning to, they may act in ways that disrupt others.
Cognitive Studies In The Ventromedial Prefrontal Cortex
The ventral and medial sector of the frontal lobe has undergone extensive evolutionary development in humans in comparison to other primates. This region is implicated in the most human of behaviors, such as social interaction, moral judgment, fairness, self-control, prediction of the future, and decision making in conflict situations.88-90 A number of functional imaging studies have shown representation of these cognitive processes in this region of the brain.91-98 Individuals who sustain damage to this region of the brain do not exhibit deficits in cognition that can be measured with conventional neuropsychological tests however, they often exhibit inappropriate social behavior and poor judgment with regard to their social and financial well-being.90,99 Their choices are more influenced by immediate rewards even though the consequences of their choices are predicted to cause substantial disadvantage to them.100,101
Anatomic studies have shown that the ventral and medial sectors of the prefrontal cortex have abundant connections with the sensory areas of multiple modalities and subcortical structures, including the hypothalamus, thalamus, amygdala, and brainstem.102-104 The connectivity of this region supports the proposed function of this area, specifically the processing of various multimodal sensory inputs to modulate behavior, including visceral and autonomic function, to match behavior to fit appropriately to the situation in which an individual is placed.
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Neuroscientists Identify Brain Circuit Necessary For Memory Formation
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When we visit a friend or go to the beach, our brain stores a short-term memory of the experience in a part of the brain called the hippocampus. Those memories are later consolidated that is, transferred to another part of the brain for longer-term storage.
A new MIT study of the neural circuits that underlie this process reveals, for the first time, that memories are actually formed simultaneously in the hippocampus and the long-term storage location in the brains cortex. However, the long-term memories remain silent for about two weeks before reaching a mature state.
This and other findings in this paper provide a comprehensive circuit mechanism for consolidation of memory, says Susumu Tonegawa, the Picower Professor of Biology and Neuroscience, the director of the RIKEN-MIT Center for Neural Circuit Genetics at the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory, and the studys senior author.
The findings, which appear in Science on April 6, may force some revision of the dominant models of how memory consolidation occurs, the researchers say.
The Adaptive Value And Evolution Of Temporal Intelligence
In humans, BA10 is larger than any other area of Brodmann. Stereological measurements of the volume of BA10 in a single human hemisphere, showed that it consists of 14.2 mm3 of gray matter . When this volume was expressed as a percentage of the total brain volume of the same individual, BA10 of one hemisphere constituted 1.2% of that persons entire brain. At 2.8 mm3, the bonobo has the second largest BA10, constituting 0.75% of its entire brain volume, followed by the chimpanzee , the gorilla and the relatively small-brained Orangutan wherein BA10, although only 1.6 mm3, nevertheless, constitutes 2.87% of its brain volume. While in apes and humans BA10 covers the frontal pole of each hemisphere, in the gibbon, a lesser ape, BA10 is confined to the orbital sector of the frontal lobe and markedly reduced in both absolute and relative size . It has long been known that the size of BA9 and BA46 varies radically between different individuals . It is, therefore, highly likely that the size of BA10 would show a similar, high degree of inter-individual variationa wide spectrum that might well reflect the concomitant variation in the concern with time and planning, shown by different individuals and populations .
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Which Part Of The Brain Deals With Thinking: The Cerebellum
Although it isnt directly involved in thinking, the cerebellum plays an important role in this process. This part of the brain takes up to 10% of its total volume, yet contains more than half of all the neurons in the brain.
Known as unconscious, the cerebellum is in charge of balance and coordination.
Scientists have discovered that the unconscious cerebellum interacts with the conscious cerebrum to perform functions. The cerebellum carries out planned muscle movements such as running and jumping. Thats why sometimes scientists call it the thinking cerebellum.
S Of Brain Involved In Social Cognition May Be In Place By Age Six
- Society for Research in Child Development
Social cognitionthe ability to think about the minds and mental states of othersis essential for human beings. In the last decade, a group of regions has been discovered in the human brain that are specifically used for social cognition. A new study in the journal Child Development investigates these brain regions for the first time in human children. The study has implications for children with autism.
Researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Yale University scanned the brains of 13 children ages 6 to 11 as they listened to children’s stories. At the moment the plot of the stories revealed what a character wanted, believed, or knew, or presented the mental state of the character, the researchers observed increased activity in these specific brain regions. When the story turned to other topicssuch as the physical world or the visual appearance of the charactersactivity in these brain regions went back down.
“What we founda pattern of typical developmentmay offer clues as we study atypical social development, as happens in autism,” according to Rebecca Saxe, the Fred and Carole Middleton Career Development Professor of cognitive neuroscience at MIT, who led the study.
Explore the latest scientific research on sleep and dreams in this free online course from New Scientist
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Prefrontal Cortex Mediates Working Memory And Decision Making
The part of each frontal lobe anterior to areas 4 and 6 is referred to asprefrontal cortex, and it has a different role from that of the other cortical areas considered in this chapter. Prefrontal cortex does not cause movements when stimulated, and it does not contain any primary sensory areas. Instead, it is centrally involved in controlling the activities of other cortical areasâto such an extent that it is seen as underlying theexecutive functions of the brain: planning, insight, foresight, and many of the most basic aspects of personality. Consistent with this, prefrontal cortex expanded dramatically during mammalian evolution and now occupies the inside of the distinctively large forehead of humans.
Michael T. Murray ND, John Nowicki ND, in, 2020
The Cell Structure Of The Brain
The brain is made up of two types of cells: neurons and glial cells, also known as neuroglia or glia. The neuron is responsible for sending and receiving nerve impulses or signals. Glial cells are non-neuronal cells that provide support and nutrition, maintain homeostasis, form myelin and facilitate signal transmission in the nervous system. In the human brain, glial cells outnumber neurons by about 50 to one. Glial cells are the most common cells found in primary brain tumors.
When a person is diagnosed with a brain tumor, a biopsy may be done, in which tissue is removed from the tumor for identification purposes by a pathologist. Pathologists identify the type of cells that are present in this brain tissue, and brain tumors are named based on this association. The type of brain tumor and cells involved impact patient prognosis and treatment.
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First How Common Is Anxiety
Anxiety is so much more prevalent in the United States today than is recognized. Currently over 40 million Americans suffer from some form of anxiety EVERYDAY. Anxiety is the experience of environmental stressors which is marked by continued excessive worry, feeling nervous or on edge, sleep abnormalities, difficulty concentrating, emotional swings, fatigue, gastrointestinal upset, increased heart rate, rapid breathing, and restlessness. Anxiety is not only stressful emotionally, but overtime can be very stressful physically on the brain and body.
Awareness of how anxiety can affect quality of life for both the individual experiencing the anxiety and the loved ones around them is extremely important. Anxiety is very treatable, even without medication, yet only less than 40% of those with anxiety are treated successfully and with the right approach.
Frontal Lobe Function Location In Brain & Damage
By Olivia Guy-Evans, published May 08, 2021
The frontal lobe is located behind the forehead, at the front of the brain. These lobes are part of the cerebral cortex and is the largest brain structure.
The frontal lobeâs main functions are associated typically with âhigherâ cognitive functions, including decision-making, problem-solving, thought and attention.
It contains the motor cortex,which is involved in planning and coordinating movement the prefrontal cortex, which is responsible forhigher-level cognitive functioning and Brocaâs Area, which is essential for language production
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Research In Brain Function And Learning
Research in brain function and learning.
The brain begins to mature even before birth. Although it continues to mature throughout most of life, the brain does not mature at the same rate in each individual.
This should not be surprising. After all, our bodies grow at different rates we reach puberty at different ages and our emotional maturity at different times as well. Why should our brains be any different?
Just because you have a classroom full of students who are about the same age doesn’t mean they are equally ready to learn a particular topic, concept, skill, or idea. It is important for teachers and parents to understand that maturation of the brain influences learning readiness. For teachers, this is especially important when designing lessons and selecting which strategies to use.
As a teacher, all children need to be challenged and nurtured in order to profit from your instruction. Instruction that is above or below the maturity level of a child’s brain is not only inappropriate it can also lead to behavior problems in your classroom. Inappropriate behaviors such as avoidance, challenging authority and aggression towards other students can be explained by a failure to match instruction to the brain maturity of your students.
For all of these reasons, it is important to understand how our brains mature as well as the differences that may be present at each stage of “normal” development.
The recommendations below are supported by evidence.
The Nature Of Planning
When challenged with a complex goal, our cognitive centers automatically divide the task into a temporally-ordered series of smaller tasks or sub-goals that must be performed in the correct sequence in order to attain success. Plans differ from other elements of cognition in that they are never of the moment, but instead can only be actualized in the future and so must be preserved in memory. Planning is the basis of proactivity and as such, it demands the integration of time, both past and future . It follows, that in order to orchestrate the steps of any plan, a neural center must be able to preserve the plan in what is almost universally referred to as prospective memory . If we consider that many human plans extend over days, weeks and months, then our ability to plan is indicative of a neural platform that enables us to meaningfully conceptualize the futurea process that inevitably draws upon our memories of those past events that are germane to the success or failure of our current goals. Notwithstanding the retrospective nature of memory, the essential steps of planning are firmly directed towards the future and the necessity to remember a plan has therefore been referred to as a memory of the future . It is this memory of the future that is lost when the prefrontal lobes are disconnected from the rest of the brain or even when damage is confined to BA10 on the frontopolar surface of the prefrontal lobes .
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