By Kathleen Stein
Embarking on a spellbinding trip to the frontiers of neuroscience, acclaimed technological know-how editor and author Kathleen Stein takes a captivating in-depth examine the prefrontal cortex, the positioning of our operating reminiscence, impulse keep an eye on, cause, belief, choice making, and emotional processing—all the issues that include our human genius.
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Additional info for The Genius Engine: Where Memory, Reason, Passion, Violence, and Creativity Intersect in the Human Brain
It was not unlike Fuster’s idea of competing systems adjudicated by the PFC. But how did the PFC “know” about this conflict in the first place, in order to attend to it and steer the neurons toward the right “goal”? That question led Cohen to a “lower” part of the prefrontal system, the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC). The ACC (see figure 1 on page ix) is the elephant to the neuroscientists’ blind men; everybody’s got a slightly differently take on it. The mental operations it putatively engages in include heightening skin, touch, and pain sensitivities—even emotional pain.
Somehow the brain “just knew” when to turn up or down its intensity level. ” Since medical school, Cohen had wondered: what happens when a person decides to attend to “this” as opposed to “that”? At first he suspected that monitoring was a lateral prefrontal job. But he and his collaborators decided to see if other brain areas signaled to the lateral PFC what it should be paying attention to, or how much attention it should allocate. With Cameron Carter, then at the University of Pittsburgh, Cohen developed a computer model of an ACC to strap onto his Stroop-playing virtual PFC machine.
At first he suspected that monitoring was a lateral prefrontal job. But he and his collaborators decided to see if other brain areas signaled to the lateral PFC what it should be paying attention to, or how much attention it should allocate. With Cameron Carter, then at the University of Pittsburgh, Cohen developed a computer model of an ACC to strap onto his Stroop-playing virtual PFC machine. The idea was arduous in its development. A breakthrough came when the two men recalled a brain-mapping meeting where the host opened the session with a rhetorical question: looking at the thousands of imaging abstracts submitted, which area of the brain was most active?
The Genius Engine: Where Memory, Reason, Passion, Violence, and Creativity Intersect in the Human Brain by Kathleen Stein