Lesser Known Areas of the Brain and their Functions

A look into the unexplored areas of the enigma that is the brain: these areas and their functions have always been fodder for speculation in the recent years, though they may be responsible for all that defines us and makes us humans.

  • Posterior Cingulate Cortex- Mind wanderingimages

This part of the brain has been cited as one of the most mysterious ones. The PCC is also known as the area of the brain which consumes the most energy (nearly 20 percent of the total calorie input). The most interesting aspect about the PCC is that it seems to be associated with no particular life-sustaining activity. On the contrary, the PCC is turned off when the person is immersed in some task or work, only to become active when the person sits idle again.

 

Tripped Out Fact:  Due to the above mentioned fact, the PCC has been speculated to be the area of the brain associated with mind wandering and origin of random thoughts.

 

  • Subgenual Cingulate Cortex- Depression, Mood Swings

This part of the brain has been seen to be related to pathological as well as normal mood shifts. It has also been associated with depression, in both adults as well as in adolescents. It has been observed through clinical trials that the stimulation of this part leads to more positive feelings in people. This part is also seen to be affected heavily by anti-depressants, further strengthening its association with depression.

 

  • Medial Parietal Cortex- Sense of direction

This region of the brain has been associated with the generation of the sense of direction, which is in turn required for navigation purposes in organisms. In accordance to this, people with trauma or lesions in this region have been shown to exhibit lapses in recognizing landmarks and other directional information. This region has also been associated with episodic memory in humans.

 

  • Retrosplenium-Cognitive Control

This region of the brain has been speculated to be useful in selecting conflicting sensory or cognitive responses that are necessary for everyday activities. In other words, this area of the brain is associated with the selection of an appropriate response, so as to avoid responding in such a way that would be irrelevant to the task at hand. Lesions and other kinds of damage to this area of the brain have been seen to considerably reduce decision making abilities in subjects.

 

  • Insula/Insular Cortex- Physical manifestation of emotionsil_570xN.111386932

This area of the brain, which was previously considered to be of little interest to the scientific society, gained much attention when speculations were made about its association to physicals manifestations of emotional states. In other words, the Insular Cortex has been associated with the generation of particular bodily states in response to some particular emotion or feeling. This region has also been associated with the generation of desires and other physical cravings.

 

  • Wernicke’s Area- Language comprehension

This area of the brain is associated with the ability to understand speech or spoken language. This region contains numerous important motor neurons, which in turn are necessary for the proper comprehension of speech and syllables.

The area has also been recognized as the center for language interpretation, recognition of speech as well as processing of semantics.

 

  • Amygdala- Seat of fear and other emotions

The Amygdalae are areas in the brain which have been associated with perception as well as the generation of several emotions, such as fear. Due to the existence of numerous neural connections between the Amygdalae and the Insular Cortex, these areas have also been associated with the physical changes in the body caused due to emotions. Out of all emotions, this region has been associated with fear and the overall perception of danger by an individual in his/her immediate environment.

 

Further Tripping…

 

{Why the brain is truly among the craziest enigmas of all time}

https://books.google.co.in/books?id=VexYLQAACAAJ&dq=human+brain+special&hl=en&sa=X&ei=mGIdVenNNsG1uQSN_YCYBQ&redir_esc=y

{Check this out if you want to know how our brains gained “something more” along the path of evolution}

http://www.cracked.com/article_19936_the-5-most-terrifying-ways-your-brain-can-turn-you.html

{A tripped out article about some of the craziest stuff that your brain can do to you}

 

 

About Ashwin Ramesh

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