That Is Not How Your Brain Works - Issue 98: Mind - Nautilus - Deepstash

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Neurons have multiple tasks

Neurons have multiple tasks

It is a myth that specific parts of the human brain have specific psychological jobs. The myth claims that the brain has separate parts, each with a dedicated mental function - one part for vision, another for memory, etc.

Today, we know the brain is a massive network of neurons with multiple jobs, not a single psychological purpose. Not all neurons can do everything, but most neurons do more than one thing.

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The “triune brain”

This myth is the idea that the human brain evolved in three layers.

  • The deepest layer is known as the lizard brain and said to house our instincts.
  • The middle layer - the limbic system - allegedly contains emotions inherited from ancient mammals.
  • The topmost layer, named the neocortex, is uniquely human and supposedly lets us regulate our brutish emotions and instincts.

Modern research has revealed that the brain doesn't evolve in layers but is built from a manufacturing plan using the same neurons.

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Your whole brain reacts to events

The idea that your brain reacts to events in the world is a myth. The idea supposes that you go through your day with parts of your brain in the off position, but when something happens around you, those parts become active and light up with activity.

But the brain doesn't work by stimulus and response. All your neurons are firing all the time at various rates. Your brain uses all its available information to predict what will happen next and make corrections outside of your awareness.

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Disease in the body and mind

This myth states that there's a clear dividing line between the disease of the body, such as cardiovascular disease, and the disease of the mind, such as depression. Philosopher René Descartes popularized the idea that body and mind are separate.

But neuroscientists have found that the same brain networks responsible for controlling your body are involved in creating your mind. Every mental experience has physical causes, and physical changes in your body often have mental consequences.

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CURATED BY

embp

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