Sunday, October 16, 2011

Brodmann's area 10

We don't know everything about how the human brain thinks. We know its shape and cellular composition (cytoarchitectonics), and some of its malfunctions when it goes haywire, but not much else. Sticking electrodes in living beings can tell us what fires up while we're interacting with various stimuli, but like the universe there's a big percentage of magical goings-on that we cannot see, record or reproduce. Now is a great time for science and magic. Dark energy and dark matter make up the bulk of the universe. And what our brains are up to is within the mystery. Humans have a realm in the prefrontal cortex of our brain named Brodmann's area 10. The boundaries are not defined: BA10 is a cloud on the back porch of the frontal cortex. BA10 is oversized in humans, compared to other sapient beings. It is involved in strategic executive decision-making. The most interesting piece is that it may be making decisions without the rest of our brains being aware. So, here is a big evolutionary step in the last 50,000 years, about which we know bupkes. Experimentation can reveal that we know what we're going to do before we know it, but how is a blank. How do we know what we know? Isn't it fascinating to be sapient right now?

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