Master AND commander

Master commanderAn fMRI scan of the upper echelons of the human brain, reveals that there are apparently two commanders at the helm, according to US neuroscientists; it is as if Russell Crowe were joined by his twin brother to captain the ship. The work may suggest new insights into behavioural problems that occur following brain injury.

Neuroscientist Steven Petersen and his team at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis also found that these two captains at a single helm do not consult each other in the control of voluntary, goal-oriented behaviour. Such behaviour encompasses a vast range of activities from reading and surfing the net to singing a song or even sailing a ship. In contrast, involuntary behaviour, such as pulse rate, breathing, and digestion are not controlled in this way.

You can read the full story in my SpectroscopyNOW column in the MRI channel.

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3 thoughts on “Master AND commander

  1. very interesting – the human mind always impresses me – its a wonder how much is going on up there!

  2. Janice, thanks for your comment. As I interpret it, it’s not that simple. If you consider emotional response too then there are at least three commanders up there! The researchers looked only at voluntary, not involuntary actions and found that such behaviour seems to be operating on two timescales, one a fast responder the other a slower one, like one might have in a dual control car during a driving lesson to make a very simplistic analogy. Hopefully, you’ll get the chance to read the full article and perhaps track back to the full research reference from there. Thanks for your input, from both of me ;-)

  3. The hippocampus is where our emotions come from~so one ruler. The frontal lobe is where we make decisions~so second ruler? I’m guess before I read the rest of the article.

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