The neurologist Paul MacLean has proposed that our skull holds not one brain, but three, each representing a distinct evolutionary stratum that has formed upon the older layer before it, like an archaeological site. He calls it the “triune brain.” MacLean, now the director of the Laboratory of Brain Evolution and Behaviour in Poolesville, Maryland, says that three brains operate like “three interconnected biological computers, [each] with its own special intelligence, its own subjectivity, its own sense of time and space and its own memory”.
The origin of each of the major memory systems of the brain is the vast expanse of the cerebral cortex, in particular on the highest stages of the several distinct sensory and motor processing hierarchies — the cortical association areas. The cerebral cortex provides major inputs to each of three main pathways associated with distinct memory functions as shown in studies that employ double dissociation of their functions.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
- Exercise regularly and vigorously (assuming you don’t have heart trouble or other conditions that would prevent it)
- Lose weight
- Get out of the house and socialize
Moderate physical exercise, dietary restriction, and enriched environment stimulation are all known to be good for the brain in general and memory in particular. However, few studies have directly compared these three factors all in the same study, as has been done in the lab of Alois Strasser in the University of Veterinary Medicine in Austria. Moreover, Strasser examined also a brain chemical that is likely to cause some of the brain improvement, the so-called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BNDF), which sustains neuron life and promotes growth of neuronal processes and synapse formation.
By James Thornton
The brain is our favorite bodily organ. It is where we feel sex, love, and beauty. It is where we get guilty, depressed, and angry. It is the most complex object in the known Universe. So complex that science has only made the first tentative steps towards understanding it.
One thing is clear though: you have three brains. There are three brains nested within your skull: the lizard brain, the dog brain, and the human brain.